Raful's wife objects to east J'lem street after him

Rafuls wife objects to

Although her late husband was famous for once declaring that if there were "a hundred settlements between Nablus and Jerusalem, no stones would be thrown," Ofra Meirson-Eitan, the wife of former IDF chief of General Staff Rafael "Raful" Eitan, has opposed plans by the Jerusalem Municipality to name an east Jerusalem street after him. After her husband died in 2004, Meirson-Eitan requested that the Jerusalem Municipality name a street after her late husband, but in the Katamon neighborhood, near the San Simon Monastery, where Eitan was shot in the head and severely wounded during the War of Independence. But after five years of silence from the municipality, Meirson-Eitan told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, she picked up a newspaper a couple of months ago and spotted an article about the wife of Shaike Ophir, which detailed her opposition to the late entertainer's name being used for a street in east Jerusalem. "In the article, it said that Ophir's name was to be placed on a street in the Nof Zion neighborhood, which is in Jebl Mukaber," Meirson-Eitan said. "And then, the article continued, that other names of famous Israelis, such as Raful's, were to be used for other streets in the neighborhood." "That's how I found about it," she added. "No letter, no map, nothing." Nof Zion, which saw its first residents move in over the summer, recently held a cornerstone-laying ceremony attended by hundreds of people. The neighborhood, or bloc of apartment complexes, sits on a hill near the entrance to Jebl Mukaber, and will eventually include 480 apartments, including 80 flats that will be attached to a luxury boutique hotel, two synagogues, a kindergarten, a community center, a country club and a small shopping mall. However, Meirson-Eitan said that it was precisely Nof Zion's location that sparked her opposition to Eitan's name being used on a street sign there. "This is a street in an Arab neighborhood," she said. "I don't agree with our presence there, and I think we have to respect the residents who live there. We all live together; if we want respect from them, we have to give it as well." "My late husband had his political outlook, and we had disagreements all the time," she continued. "But I believe that if he were alive today, he would understand that we are living at a very delicate time, and that this is a very sensitive place. He would understand the nuances there." Additionally, Meirson-Eitan said she had asked for Raful's name to be appended to a street near the San Simon monastery, because he had cared so deeply about the battle that took place there. "He would go back with school children and tell them about the battle all the time," she said. "It was an amazing story, and it moved him very much. Therefore, I asked that even if they couldn't name a street after him there, that at least a small plaque or something describing his role in the battle be located there." Instead, Eitan's name was to appear in Nof Zion - a decision that the municipality has now agreed to cancel, based on Meirson-Eitan's objections. In a statement, the Jerusalem Municipality said that it would work to find a solution that satisfies Meirson-Eitan, and that the lack of notification regarding the use of her husband's name had been done unintentionally. Meirson-Eitan added that she did not believe the move had been politically motivated. "I just think the committee in charge of these things didn't put much thought into it," she said. "But its fine. If they want to honor him, that would be great, but everyone knows who Raful was and what he did. A street sign isn't necessary to ensure that."