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Bush with former PM Olmert during visit to Israel Photo: AP
Bush with former PM Olmert during visit to Israel Photo: AP

City to rename George W. Bush square

Givat Shmuel mayor orders signs bearing former US president's name removed from local square. Former mayor calls decision 'a disgrace', says Bush was 'friendliest president Israel ever worked with since Johnson and Reagan'

Itamar Eichner
Published: 08.10.11, 15:08 / Israel Culture

He was considered one of the most Israel-friendly American presidents. During his visit to Israel he received a particularly warm welcome normally reserved to monarchs or rock stars. Since he left office, many places in Israel have been named after him. But no more.


Givat Shmuel Mayor Yossi Brodni decided recently to rename the local George W. Bush Square. And so, all signs bearing the former US president's name have been removed.


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The square, located at the entrance to the Ramat Hadar neighborhood, was named three years ago by then-Mayor Zamir Ben-Ari in honor of Bush's visit to Israel toward the end of his term.


According to Ben-Ari, the decision was approved by a municipality committee and was followed by a thank-you note from then-US Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer.


"I told the committee that Bush was the friendliest president Israel ever worked with since Johnson and Reagan. When the rest of the world was against us, he used the power of veto at the UN," recalls Ben-Ari, who is enraged by the current mayor's decision.


"It's a disgrace. The mayor is putting Givat Shmuel to shame," he says angrily.


The municipality issued a statement in response, saying that the square was never named formally and according to procedures, and that from now on squares would be named after consulting the city's residents.


"A square cannot be named without the consent of the person or his or her family, and clearly, that was not done in this case," the statement added. "Bush didn't even know that a square in the city had been named after him."



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