Tel Aviv 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
■ The Tel Aviv skyline is increasingly resembling that of Manhattan and is
moving more so in that direction with the disappearance of city landmarks to
make way for real-estate development. After 71 years in business, Café Batya on
the corner of Dizengoff and Arlosoroff streets, closed down last month because
the building in which it is located is to be torn down and a boutique hotel is
to be constructed in its place. Proprietor Batya Yom Tov, 96, understands the
need for progress, but is sad to see the end of her dream. Her only comfort is
the fact that her daughter and granddaughter, who have been running the
restaurant for several years, are looking for another venue to which they will
give the same name and will reinstate the time-honored menu.
Yom Tov came
to Tel Aviv from the part of Belarus that was then part of Poland. She arrived
during the Arab riots of the 1930s and worked as a kitchen hand and assistant
cook in various restaurants until in 1941, she decided that she knew enough
about the restaurant business to open her own establishment that specialized in
East European Jewish cuisine. The premises also served as a cache in which the
Hagana could conceal weapons, even though the top brass of the British Mandate
authorities were among the restaurant’s clientele. Yom Tov didn’t play favorites
between the Hagana and the Irgun Zva’i Leumi, and also sent food to Menachem
Begin when he was hiding from the British.
In the early years of the
state, nearly all the leading politicians and theater personalities came to dine
at Café Batya. In those days money was scarce and many of her clients, including
those who were famous did not have the wherewithal to pay the bill, and wrote
their IOU’s in her notebook.
Whenever they received their salaries they
came to pay something on account.
Last year, at age 96, Miriam
Weissenstein had to move out of the studiocum- photo shop that she and her late
husband, Rudi, a talented photo journalist had established in 1940. Rudi
Weissenstein had photographed all the who’s who of the nascent state and had
even photographed David Ben-Gurion proclaiming the establishment of the state.
His studio was the first of its kind in Tel Aviv and Miriam and her grandson Ben
waged a losing battle to save it from demolition. A high-rise tower will be
constructed on the site of where Tzalmania once stood.
And now another
landmark is disappearing with the signing of an agreement last week for the
evacuation of Sde Dov Airport to Terminal 1 of Ben- Gurion International
Airport. The agreement was signed by the Finance Ministry, the Israel Lands
Authority and the Israel Aviation Authority as the outcome of an agreement
reached between Transportation Minister Israel Katz and Construction and Housing
Minister Ariel Attias. In January of this year, the two ministers submitted
their plan to the cabinet for approval following long discussions by an
Time is on the side of Sde Dov. Operations
there can continue till June 30, 2016. After that, work will begin on the
construction of a whole new neighborhood, in the same way that a new
neighborhood is in the process of completion on the former site of the Foreign
Ministry in Jerusalem.
Sde Dov Airport was named for Dov Hoz, who was one
of the pioneers of Israeli aviation. With the removal of the noise factor, which
is part and parcel of an airport, it is estimated that apartments in the area
will rise in value by 10 percent, or more.
■ THE BIG question now in
terms of real estate is what will happen to Ma’ariv’s printing press in Bat Yam.
The press was not included in the agreement initialed last week by Nochi Dankner
and Shlomo Ben-Zvi for the transfer of ownership of Ma’ariv. It’s possible that
Dankner may sell the land on which the printing press is located to Sheldon
Adelson’s Israel Hayom; or if he is offered a much better price by a real-estate
developer, he may choose the latter option, and yet another landmark will bite
■ THE NATIONAL Insurance Institute, headed by Prof. Shlomo Mor
Yosef, who was previously director of Hadassah Medical Center, will embark on a
pilot project in Haifa as an initial strategy to combat the growing number of
enterprises that are advertising that if the disabled were better informed of
their rights they could get more money from the NII.
The new strategy
will make it possible for the disabled to be attended by an NII counselor, who
can observe the extent of their disabilities and who will inform them of their
rights accordingly. If the project proves to be successful, it will be
implemented in other parts of the country, with the aim of reducing the
bureaucratic hassles to which so many disabled people are subjected when seeking
NII grants and pensions. Approximately 6,000 disabled people are currently
receiving payments of some kind from the NII.