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March 02, 1984 - Image 69

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-03-02

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


Friday, March 2, 1984 69

Shlomo Lahat: The Dashing Soldier Who Is Tel Aviv's Mayor


third are driven not by Tel
War of Independence he be-
Avivians but by suburban
came the youngest com-
TEL AVIV — "I am can-
commuters and visitors
mander in the IDF, serving
did, honest, straightfor-
from other towns.
with the 52 i3attalion of the
ward, open-minded, a non-
Some 600 tons of gar-
famous Givati Brigade.
conformist, I believe in
bage are collected daily
In July 1948, his unit
people, am endowed with from Tel Aviv homes and
fought in the battle of
charisma, I care about my streets. Nevertheless, ob-
Negba. After half a night
work, am deeply involved
servers complain that the
and a whole day of Egyp-
and believe in the things I
city is perpetually dirty,
tian shelling, there were
do." This is how Mayor of its old houses dilapi-
27 boys left out of 115.
Tel Aviv Shlomo Lahat,
dated, monuments of his- -
Chich fought in the fier-
nicknamed "Chich," de-
torical value neglected,
cest battles of the war
scribes himself in one the air polluted, traffic
and emerged without a
breath. His opponents think and building laws tran-
scratch. He joined the
differently. To them he is scended. And though
regular army when the
aggressive, bombastic, re- Chich has cut many in-
war ended, and as a ris-
ckless, inconsiderate, hot- auguration ribbons since
ing officer occupied var-
headed and often incompe- 1973 when elected for the
ious important positions.
tent. Regardless of Tel Av- first time, many major
From 1951 to 1953, Chich
iv's chronfc financial prob- projects — the municipal
took leave from the army in
lems, he loves to be the public library, the Tel
order to study law at the
patron of grandiose concerts
Aviv Museum, the ($41 million) municipal Hebrew University of
and shows.
Ayalon highways and
Jerusalem. In 1956, he be-
Tel Aviv, Israel's aging others — were planned billion, not 5!"
came the first Israeli sent to
first Jewish city (founded in by former Mayor
U.S. by the IDF in order
ing, Chich clearly retains
1909), is not by general Yehoshua 'Rabinowitch.
to complete his training at a
agreement an easy city to
Chich loves to be seen in
military academy. One day
tains the confidence of his
administer but the people art galleries and at opening
before the Sinai Campaign
electorate, all the difficul-
obviously want Chich in the nights. He likes to frater-
broke out, then Chief of
ties notwithstanding. The Staff Moshe Dayan sum-
mayor's seat, giving him a nize with other celebrities,
mayor fought citizens of a
58.4 majority in the local perhaps emulating
moned him back.
suburban neighborhood
elections last October. Jerusalem's Teddy Kollek.
From 1959 to 1967 he wa
(Only 40 percent of his The mayor's wife, Ziva,
their children to a less promoted to second in com-
recommended council can- takes the role of "first lady"
prestigious neighborhood mand of the Golani Brigade
didates were elected.)
a Tel Aviv seriously. The
school and he claims to have which carried out several
Every day a record name "Chicha" was re-
been beaten up by one of the successful operations in
350,000 cars make their cently bestowed upon her by
fathers. He demolished a Syria, and then to command
nerve-wracking way along one of the local newspapers.
house illegally built in one the armored corps. As the
Tel Aviv's roads, making
Chich is the darling of
of Tel Aviv's slums yet cri- Six-Day War broke out,.
the city the only metropolis gossip columnists and
tics say he is more lenient Chich was fund raising for
in the world whose number seems to thrive on con-
with large-scale building the United Jewish Appeal
of cars comprise half the troversy and criticism.
contractors and projects like in Curacao. He came back
total number of vehicles in When asked by a reporter
Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Center immediately and as a pri-
the entire country. One- some time before the last
and multi-story edifices in vate joined the forces which
1 Tel Aviv.
broke into the Old City of
Whether the criticisms Jerusalem under the com-
are well-founded or not, mand of Uzi Narkiss.
Moshe Dayan, the new
17515 W. 9 Mile Rd.
the elections found most
of Defense, told
Tel Aviv residents giving
been looking
Suite 865
Chich a resounding vote
half a day for you. I want
Southfield, Mich. 48075-4491
election year was a busy you to take over the as-
year for Shlomo Lahat. signment of military gover-
He gave Tel Avivians an nor of Jerusalem." Said
elegant seashore prom- Chich, "OK, but first I want
enade, yet he is loved by to fight." Dayan: "There
many in the poorer dis- isn't any more fighting
tricts where he is iden- there. The battle I have to
tified with Project Re- fight now is for the unity of
newal, the rehabilitation the city of Jerusalem."
Chich went his own
project for the country's
slums funded by the way as usual, and with
Jewish Agency and the the force under Uzi Nar-
kiss' command broke
Born Shlomo Lindner in through Lions Gate into
Berlin, Nov. 9, 1927, he the Old City. After the
came with his parents to Is- battle, Uzi Narkiss
rael in 1933. The family set- entrusted Chich with the
tled in the small town of Re- job of military governor
hovot. In a rope-pulling con- of the city, which Chich
test, the 10-year-old was carried out for exactly 20
leading one of the two days. He "governed"
groups. The school watch- 70,000 persons.
man, a new immigrant who
By the end of the War of
spoke only Yiddish, Attrition in Sinai Chich re-
encouraged young Shlomo: ceived the rank of general.
"Zag zei, zei zolen tzien However, in 1972 he retired
Paste in old label
. . ."(tell them to pull). from the army and settled
Shlomo started shouting down to a quiet life in one of
"chi, chi, chi . ." and the Tel Aviv's suburbs with his
group won. He was bes- wife and their two sons.
towed with the nickname Chich was managing an
"Chi" which became import firm of chemicals for
"Chich" later on.
the pharmaceutical and in-
In 1941, he joined the secticide industries and
Hagana, the Jewish under- Ziva was heading the li-
ground army. In 1945, upon brary of social sciences at
completing high school in Tel Aviv University, a job
Tel Aviv, he came back to she still holds.
Rehovot where the Hagana
The late Simha Ehrlich,
recruited him into the He- later deputy prime minister
brew Settlement Police. He to Menahem Begin, invited
completed a section com- Chich to join the newly-
manders' course and then a formed Gahal Party, a fu-
course for platoon comman- sion between the Liberals
Effective Date
and the Herut Party. To
With the outbreak of the make it more attractive,

World Zionist Press Service

Ehrlich offered Chich to
run as Gahal candidate for
mayor of Tel Aviv.
Chich, who had in the late
1940s carried a membership
card of the then Mapai, the
Israel Labor Party, was also
approached by the Labor
Party. But Chich became a
liberal, saying he was a lib-
eral in body and soul and he
favors the diversification'of
opinion in the party. The
Liberal Party backed his
nomination and Chich said:
"I have one ideal in my life:
to serve the people of Tel
Aviv. I promise that, should
I not be elected, I will serve
the Tel Avivians at the head
of the opposition."

He wrested the Tel Aviv
municipality from Labor
hands and repeated his per-
formance in 1983. Hand-
some and stylish in a city
which is neither, Chich's
success seems to hinge on
his ability to persuade the
people of his city that he

genuinely cares about the
enormous problems it faces
and is deeply concerned to
make Tel Aviv a better
place to live in.

Bar-Ilan U.
Honors Long

gressman Clarence D. Long
(D-Md.) will be awarded the
honorary degree of Doctor of
Laws by the faculty and
board of trustees of Bar-Ilan
An academic convocation
and dinner marking the
event will be held on March
12 on the campus of Johns
Hopkins University.

Telethon Results

Super ,Sunday 1984, the
United Jewish Appeal's
fourth annual volunteer
telephone marathon, has
raised more than $21.9 mil-
lion, based on reports from
92. communities to date.

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