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May 29, 1981 - Image 64

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-05-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

64 Friday, May 29, 1981


Teddy Kollek — Portrait of Jerusalem's Mayor


World Zionist Press Service

JERUSALEM — His love
for the city of Jerusalem is
burning. He is dynamic and
enthusiastic, both idealistic
and pragmatic, a man
moved by a vision yet also
an expert politician. De-
termined, often furious, yet
ready to comprise for the
good of the city, Teddy Kol-
lek, mayor of united
Jerusalem, is thought un-
beatable in city elections
because, though a Labor
Party man, his voters seem
to come from all parties.
Teddy Kollek is currently
completing a tenure of office
of 15 years as mayor of the
Holy City. One could say
that without him Jerusalem
would probably not be what
it is today — Israel's largest
city and one in which Jews
and Arabs live in peaceful
co-exitence, even if not yet
in brotherhood.
Teddy Kollek the mayor
is known all over the world.
But who is Teddy Kollek the
man? What makes him
tick? What are his beliefs,
his hopes and" plans? Over
the years, Teddy has ap-
peared on countless occa-
sions in the Israeli press.

Teddy Kollek has un-
doubtedly succeeded in
coping with a variety of
problems typical to
Jerusalem — a city of
tremendous political,
religious, and social con-
troversies and tensions
since unification after the
Six-Day War. His
achievements are much
greater than his failures.
He is above all A man who
succeeds in bringing
people together, who
knows how to relax ten-

sions between Jews and
Arabs, religious and sec-
ular, the rich and the
He prevented, for in-
stance, the destruction of
the memorial built in honor
of the Jordanian soldiers
killed in the Six-Day War.
He preaches day and night
for co-existence between
Jews and Arabs. Yet he is no
"dove." At a recent gather-
ing, he said he didn't believe
too much in Jewish-Arab
brotherhood but he did be-
lieve in peaceful co-
existence and living har-
moniously together.
Teddy Kollek believes
"five or six or 10 years will
pass before we'll have to de-.
cide what to do in
Jerusalem. Meanwhile we
must continue living to-
gether with the Arabs."
"I don't love the Arabs
more than anyone else but
we must live together," he
emphasizes. "The Arabs
must realize that it will not
be worse for them than
today . . ."
think under certain
conditions they would
vote for autonomy, not
for a PLO state. In this
way they'll be able to
keep their Jordanian
citizenship, to have an
autonomy of education."
Another major problem in
Jerusalem is the Jewish
religious-secular confronta-
tion. Teddy Kollek does ev-
erything in his power to
calm the raging spirits on
both sides. He is not reli-
gious but he respects faith
and rabbis. He hates, how-
ever, religious fanatacism,
and attacks it outspokenly.
About his social and polit-
ical views he says, "I am

England. He organized roots here mainly because of
arms-smuggling operations my work. If I would have
of the Hagana and headed worked 15 or 30 `years
the first Israeli military elsewhere, I would have felt
at home there. It is the same
delegation in the U.S.
In 1950-52 he served as in Jerusalem."
ministery plenipotentiary
Kollek is not rich but
in Washington and was he knows how to raise
nominated by former Prime money for his city.
Minister David Ben-Gurion From this point of view it is
as director-general of the beyond doubt that without
prime minister's office. He him Jerusalem would not
played leading roles in have been what it is today.
encouraging tourism and in He fights like a lion for the
building the Israel Museum causes he believes in and in-
before his election as mayor. spires others to assist in the
Kollek is like a volcano, implementation of his
charming and impulsive, vision.
Every few months it is
working from 6 a.m. until
midnight, devoted to the mentioned in the news-
city he deeply loves. There papers that Teddy Kollek
is no one who speaks for will be appointed to the
Jerusalem better than he. Cabinet as minister of
Everyday municipal Jerusalem issues. Teddy
routine work bores him. He would love to be a minis-
hates being alone. However, ter if it would make him
he says he isn't always able better able to advance
to understand people, nor Jerusalem issues and
does he have many friends take part in the political
negotiations about the
in Israel.
Kollek says he likes future of the city. When
"sitting with Yeshayau he is asked about it, he
Berlin not because I replies humorously that
he'll remain mayor of
think ahead seven, eight, understand much about Jerusalem until the year
even 10 years, not 50 or 100. philosophy. We gossip 2000. With Teddy, every-
It is impossible to predict about the Oxford profes- thing is possible . . .
every detail in the future, so sors."
* * *
"I don't understand much
it is really intuition."
about music, but I love sit-
Kollek issued the follow-
This month, Kollek, ting with Isaac Stern talk- ing message for Jerusalem
born in Vienna, was 70 ing about famous conduc- Day, which will be observed
years old. He says if he tors. From this point of on Monday:
were 10 years younger he view, you can say I am at
"Jerusalem Day, mark-
would now run for the home with many non- ing the anniversary of the
premiership. He has Israeli people. It is not a reunification of Israel's cap-
qualifications for it.
question of place. I feel at ital, is a day of remembr-
Coming to Israel in 1935, home with them in ance and of redidication:
he was one of the founders of Jerusalem as well as in
• "Remembrance of the
Kibutz Ein-Gev in 1937. In London and New York."
havoc and suffering caused
Teddy Kollek says he does during 19 years of Jorda-
1938-39 he was a member of
an educational delegation not feel completely at home nian occupation of part of
to various Zionist groups in in any language. "I think, Jerusalem, of the dire
Europe. In 1941 he worked though, that it is not true to threat faced by the rest of
at the Jewish Agency in say I lack roots here. I have the city early in June, 1967,

usually a pragmatist. Also,
I am not a socialist. I do be- -
lieve in social justice. I was
influenced by the English
Labor Party and previously
by the Social-Democrats in
Austria." Yet one of his
non-successes has been in
Sephardic slum areas like
Teddy Kollek's vision is
world-embracing. He is a
man of intuition rather
than of plans and his intui-
tion rarely fails him. "I

and of the sacrifices in pre-
cious human lives that were
required to thwart the re-
newed Jordanian aggres-
sion, leading to the restora-
tion to our nation of its most
hallowed historic and reli-
gious sites;
• "Rededication to the
tasks of restoring the splen-
dor of Jerusalem, of preserv-
ing its universal character
as a free and open city holy
to three great religions and,
above all, of assuring once
more the true essence of it'
ancient Hebrew name
the City of Peace.
"The Jerusalem of
today is both a powerful
source of spiritual inspi-
ration and a sprawling
metropolis that is the-
heart of a vibrant Jewish
state, struggling against
tremendous odds for
human progress, mutual
tolerance and harmoni-
ous co-existence.
"In an era that has seen a
first and auspicious start
along the rocky road to
peace, Jerusalem stands out
as a model of good
neighborly relations be-
tween Arabs and Jews
which — though as yet far
from perfect — prove that
real peace cannot be
achieved in one bold stroke.
Nevertheless, it is a goal
that is attainable and worth
striving for in the common
interest of all the peoples of
our region.
"At a time when Israel
must find the strength to
win the peace, just as it did
to win four major wars
forced upon it, there is
greater significance than
ever to the biblical words:
`Out of Zion shall go forth
the Law, and the word of
God from Jerusalem.' "

The Former Mandelbaum Home in Jerusalem Symbol of A City


Jerusalem Municipaldy

Simha Mandelbaum built
his home here a half-
° century ago, he had no idea
it would become a part of
history. In fact, that house
was to become the very
symbol of the conflict in the
Middle East which has dog-
ged our generation: from
1948 to 1967 it was the only
passageway between the
two sectors of divided
All Mandelbaum wanted
was a home sufficient to ac-
commodate his growing
clan. His father, Baruch,
had moved from Russia to
Jerusalem back in 1871.
The elder Mandelbaum was
a rabbi, and he had 10 chil-
dren. Simha was also or-
dained as a rabbi, and like
his father, he also had 10
children. This called for

something other than the
cramped little homes avail-
able at that time within the
walls of Jerusalem's Old
Simha, who was also a
successful textile manufac-
turer, purchased a half-acre
of land outside the Old City
and built his house. It was a
stately home of 50 rooms
and even contained its own
synagogue. At one time or
another, most of Simha's 10
children and 85
grandchildren lived under
its roof.
No doubt the man took
much pride and pleasure
in his grand house ring-
ing with the sound of his
offspring. Added satis-
faction came from the
fact that the house was in
a mixed neighborhood of
Arabs and Jews who
lived together in har-

Then politics disrupted
everything. The first Arab-
Israeli war broke out in
1947, and both sides fought
bitterly for control of
Jerusalem. Jewish forces
found themselves using the
large Mandelbaum house as
a defense position, and
fighting raged through its
very halls. The house
changed hands no less than
seven times. The Arab
Legion finally mined the
mansion and blew it up.
It was bad enough that
the Mandelbaum family
had lost its home. But to add
insult to injury, when the
fighting stopped, the armi-
stice line dividing
Jerusalem into Israeli and
Jordanian sectors was
drawn right through the
ruins of the Mandelbaum
living room.
The site of the Mandel-
baum house became

Jerusalem's Checkpoint
Charlie. The barrier which
was lifted for diplomats and
UN personnel to cross from
one side of the divided city
to the other became known
as the Mandelbaum Gate.
According to the armi-
stice agreement, Jews
were to be allowed access
to their synagogues and
holy sites inside the
Jordanian-held Old City
of Jerusalem. But this
agreement was never
honored, and the Man-
delbaum Gate, once a
flourishing Jewish
household in a peaceful,
coexisting neighbor-
hood, became a sore
point for Israelis.
Christian pilgrims were
permitted to pass through
the Mandelbaum Gate at
Christmas and Easter to
visit their holy places in and
around the Old City, and in
Bethlehem. What should
have been merely a matter
of crossing a street, how-
ever, became a diplomatic
and bureaucratic thicket.
Israeli Christians and
tourists had to apply for exit
and re-entry permits from
Israel, as well' as for a visa
and exit permit from the
Jordanian authorities. Pil-
grims also had to produce

certificates of church mem-
Even then, would-be
travelers through the Man-
delbaum Gate might be de-
nied permission at the last
minute. During Easter
week in 1966, for example,
this reporter recalls waiting
his turn for several hours to
pass through the
checkpoints. The queue was
a city-block long, and the
disappointment of many
people who were denied
entry for some technical
reason was acute.
The Six-Day War of
1967 brought the reunifi-
cation of Jerusalem. The
Mandelbaum Gate was
dismantled, and after 19
years of division, the city
was restored to the unity
it had known for 40 cen-
turies. Arabs who had
lived along the dividing
line near the checkpoint
moved back and rebuilt
their homes. Members of
the Mandelbaum family
also thought about re-
building their home.

But virtually nothing was
left of the once-impressive
home, and as the artificial
boundaries were removed,
the site became a major in-
tersection for streets whose

names tell so much about
the Holy City: Samuel the
Prophet Street, Central
Command Road, St. George
Street and Tribes of Israel
Today, only a plaque re-
mains to mark where • the
Mandelbaum house once
Dr. Moshe Mandelbaum,
one of the many descen-
dants of the clan's founder
still living in Jerusalem to-
day, speaks nostalgically
about the house. "So many
memories linger behind
that plaque," he said, "and
so much of this city. This is
where I used to team u
with the Arab boys next
door to play soccer against a
squad of Italian Catholic
kids and Arab boys from a
big school down the street."
Dr. Mandelbaum is
cheered by the news that
the city of Jerusalem is to
dedicate a museum soon
near the site of his former
home. The museum will be
devoted to the reunification
of the city. Photographs and
artifacts will illustrate the
story of a house that became
a checkpoint, an ethnically
mixed neighborhood that
became divided, and a torn
city that was healed and
flourishes once again.

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