Thursday, August 9, 2012

Teddy Kollek's optimism about Jerusalem, July 1967

Much of what's in the archives is the documentation of officialdom. Some isn't. Today's document is an English translation of an interview with Teddy Kollek, then mayor of Jerusalem, published in Yediot Acharonot on July 14th 1967. Apparently someone in the Foreign Ministry read the interview and had it translated, and a copy now lies in file חצ-8211/7

Kollek was a larger-than-life sort of person, as this fine obituary from The Independant demonstrates. He was also famous for dosing off while listening to other peoples' speeches, so that fact that his interviewer describes him as being tired is merely par to the course. The interview itself is important in that it seems to offer a candid presentation of how Kollek saw Jerusalem a month after it's liberation, with a combination of small details and a very large picture. Interestingly, he doesn't dwell on the historical importance of Jewish control over the entire city or related philosophical matters; what fired him up was the opportunity to create a city in which Jews and Arabs would successfully live together, and his intentions of making that happen.

It didn't happen in the way he described, but given that making predictions is always hard and especially predictions about the future, his thoughts at the time are no less interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment