Naomi Shemer Street - name erased
Photo: Yaron Olami
Contoversial? Yeshayahu Leibowitz
Photo: Gabi Menashe
Song writer Naomi Shemer
Photo: Shalom Bar-Tal
Uproar in Herzliya municipality over intentions to name part of city's Naomi Shemer Street after renowned scientist and philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz. "What kind of message are we sending out to today's youth when we name a street after a man who called IDF soldiers 'Judeo Nazis'?" said City council member Yaron Olami in protest.
In contrast, the municipality sees no problem with the decision using past cases as examples: "There are streets named after Zeev Jabotinsky whose past also raised questions."
The Herzliya City Council will convene tomorrow – its main agenda will be the controversial Names Committee decision. A similar proposal came up before the council in 2007 and was rejected by a large majority. At the time, the proposal was brought forward by Council Member Zvi Hadar who claimed that commemoration shouldn't be limited to a person of whom there is a vast consensus.
In this connection, he mentioned the Lehi and Etzel resistance movements and the Prophet Amos as people and organizations who are commemorated in spite of the fact that the legitimacy of their actions is often disputed. At the time, Olami opposed the proposal and said that it was impossible to name a street after someone who called IDF soldiers 'Judeo Nazis', called for a civil war and even army dodging.
In recent weeks, Herzliya residents were surprised to discover that Naomi Shemer's name was removed from signs throughout a section of the street named in her honor. Apparently, the city's Name Committee decided once again to name a street in his honor, using a section of the street named for Naomi Shemer.
"I'm very concerned over the committee's decision to change the name of the street named in honor of Naomi Shemer," said Olami, who announced that he would oppose the change in the council meeting.
Meanwhile, the Herzliya municipality claimed that there is no reason not to name a street after Leibowitz, as he was a well respected professor. The municipality stated that in the past, objections had also been raised when the municipality wished to name a street after Jabotinsky and some might even have reservations over naming a street after Shemer.
As for the claims that a section of Naomi Shemer Street was cleared for the new street name, the municipality said that the section was new and had no name. Yet in spite of the municipality statements, that section did in fact have signs bearing the name of the famous song writer.
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