Gravepine: painful progress

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November 1, 2017 17:30

In their desire for progress and modernity, they tore down historic buildings before anyone could step in to stop them

4 minute read.



Tzipi Hotovely

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

■ Jerusalem-born author Haim Beer, who was raised in Geula in an Orthodox environment both inside and outside his home, has relatives all over Geula and Mea She’arim, including members of the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit who live in Batei Ungarn. Although he has not lived in Jerusalem for many years, Beer frequently returns, not only to participate in festivals and conferences or to put in an appearance at a family celebration but also to conduct guided tours through the Jerusalem of his youth. It pains him, he told Liat Regev in an interview on Reshet Bet last Friday, that none of the mayors of Jerusalem from Teddy Kollek to Nir Barkat, had sufficient respect for the history and character of the city.

In their desire for progress and modernity, they tore down historic buildings before anyone could step in to stop them, and very few places in the Jerusalem of today, resemble the Jerusalem that Beer knew in his younger years. In essence, Beer was talking to Regev about his new book, which contains vignettes about Jerusalem, including a meeting a decade ago with a cousin to whom he had no inkling that he was related. The cousin’s father had gone to America, opened a kosher butcher shop and did quite well for himself. The father’s surname in Jerusalem was Vallis. The family has lived in the capital since the early 1830s. In America, the immigrant from Jerusalem changed his name to Wallace. His son Jack Wallace became a senior figure in the CIA, and later was sent to Jerusalem as US consul-general. He had heard about a writer called Haim Beer who conducted tours, and thought it would be more interesting to go with him, because he would know how to weave a story.

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