Kollek, Teddy

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KOLLEK, TEDDY (Theodore , 1911– ), Israeli public figure, mayor of Jerusalem 1965–93. Kollek was born in Vienna, and as a youth was a member of the Blau-Weiss Zionist youth movement. In 1931–34 he was active in the Ḥalutz movement in Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Great Britain. He settled in Palestine in 1934, and was one of the founders of kibbutz Ein-Gev in 1936. In 1938–39 he was involved in Europe in Zionist educational activities, and in 1939 met with Adolf *Eichmann to negotiate the release of 3,000 Jewish youths from concentration camps and arrange their transfer to Great Britain for agricultural training. From 1940 to 1947 he served in the Jewish Agency Political Department and was stationed in its Istanbul office as a contact with the Jewish underground in Europe, trying to rescue Jews, acting as a liaison with British and U.S. intelligence in Cairo. After World War ii he was involved in the organization of *"illegal" immigration to Palestine. In 1947–48 he represented the *Haganah in the United States, and was inter alia involved in illicit purchases of military equipment. In 1947–48 Kollek was Israel's minister plenipotentiary in Washington. Upon his return to Israel he was appointed director general of the Prime Minister's Office, a job that he held until 1964. In that period he was one of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's confidants. In this capacity he initiated the Government Tourist Corporation, of which he was chairman in 1956–65, and various cultural activities, such as the Israel Festival. He assisted in raising the funds for the *Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and served as the museum's chairman from 1964 until being elected mayor of Jerusalem the following year. Kollek left Mapai, of which he had been a member since arriving in the country, together with Ben-Gurion, and was one of the founding members of *Rafi. He was elected mayor with the support of Rafi. After the 1967 Six-Day War Kollek, now representing the *Israel Labor Party, was responsible for the actual reunification of Jerusalem, and he came to personify the united Jerusalem. During his 28 years as mayor he managed to raise a great deal of money to develop the city, and he established the Jerusalem Fund for this purpose. However, despite his liberal policy toward the Arabs of East Jerusalem, many of whom supported him in the early years after the Six-Day War, he was not successful in bringing about a real integration and the services in the Arab part of the city never reached the standard of those in the Jewish part.

Even though Kollek had considered not to run in the municipal elections in 1993, he was finally convinced to run and was defeated by the Likud candidate Ehud *Olmert, despite the Labor victory in the general elections the previous year. He nevertheless continued to raise funds for the city. In 1988 he was awarded the Israel Prize for exemplary lifelong service to society and the State.

His writings focus on Jerusalem: Yerushalayim Aḥat: Sippur Ḥayyim (1979) and with Dov Goldstein, Yerushalayim Shel Teddy (1994).

Biographies on him have been published: R. Kolodany-Baki, Zehu Teddy: Biografyah mi-Pi Ḥaverim (1995) and B. Amikam (ed.), Kenes Hitpatteḥut Yerushalayim bi-Tekufat Teddy Kollek 19651993 (2001).

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]