Grapevine: Marching through Rehavia

It is an interesting coincidence that 100th anniversary of birth of long-serving Jerusalem mayor Kollek falls so close to Jerusalem Day.

Noam Schalit and Peres about to kiss 311 (photo credit: Meital Jaslovitz  )
Noam Schalit and Peres about to kiss 311
(photo credit: Meital Jaslovitz )
■ RESIDENTS OF Rehavia and surrounding areas are invariably the victims of road closures and traffic diversions brought about by the visit of a US president, parades through the city, an international marathon or special entertainment events such as on Israel Independence Day. It’s about to happen again on Monday with a pre-Jerusalem Day parade by some 20,000 marchers representing 53 regional councils, Bnei Hamoshavim, the Agricultural Union, Youth Aliya, the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization and youth groups from across the country. The parade will begin with a ceremony at Independence Park in the presence of President Shimon Peres, Mayor Nir Barkat, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Agriculture Minister Orit Noked and Noam Schalit. The ceremony will be a demonstration of identification with and support for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit. The parade will begin at Independence Park and will conclude at Sacher Park, where marchers and the general public will be entertained by Shlomi Shabat, Idan Amedi and Avraham Tal. The only consolation for suffering Jerusalemites is that the ceremony is due to start at 5 p.m., which means that all streets will be accessible during regular working hours.
■ IT IS an interesting coincidence that the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary, long-serving Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek falls so close to Jerusalem Day. The Teddy Kollek Award ceremony, organized by the Knesset in cooperation with The Jerusalem Foundation which he created, will take place on June 2 in the Chagall Hall of the Knesset in the presence of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Recipients of the award, given in recognition of their significant contributions to Jerusalem, will be the Azrieli Foundation of Canada and Israel; Aleksander Gudzowaty of Poland; Fred Worms of the United Kingdom and Israel; and James Snyder, director of the Israel Museum which, like so many other city landmarks, was founded by Kollek.
It is also an interesting coincidence that the award ceremony should take place during Rivlin’s term as Speaker. Aside from being born in Jerusalem and having served as co-chair of the Knesset’s Jerusalem lobby, he also served on the Jerusalem City Council during part of Kollek’s 28-year tenure as mayor, as did his predecessor in office Dalia Itzik, who was a deputy mayor under Kollek.
■ JERUSALEMITES WHO thought that there might be some special event at the Schalit tent on Lag Ba’omer night to once again highlight the plight of Gilad Schalit and who came to demonstrate their support, discovered that they had come in vain because the area was in total darkness, and there was no sign of Noam and Aviva Schalit or any of their regular supporters. In fact, they did have an event earlier in the evening prior to the end of Shabbat by way of an alternative beacon lighting ceremony to remind people that not only Gilad but other Israeli soldiers are still missing. Aviva Schalit was among the beacon lighters as was Massada Ze’evi, the daughter of Rehavam Ze’evi, the government minister and IDF general who was assassinated by terrorists in Jerusalem in October 2001.
■ THE COMPOSITE influence of Mayor Nir Barkat’s coalition evidences itself in Jerusalem time and again, but it also evidenced itself during his recent visit to New York. One of the last calls that Barkat made prior to returning to Israel was to the old Montefiore Cemetery in Cambria Heights to pay his respects at the final resting place of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson. While in New York, Barkat was feted at a reception hosted by Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Meron Reuben.