Theodor “Teddy” Kolleck died Tuesday. He was 95
We are all the poorer for it.
Kolleck was mayor of Jerusalem from 1965 until 1993 and was the Ed Koch of Israeli mayors. Everyone loved him.
He came to then-Palestine in 1935 from Austria, fleeing the Nazis. He and his family helped found Kibbutz Ein Gev, near the Sea of Galilee. He helped build the desert and swamp-infested place into the garden that Israel has become.
He’s one of the last of the Israeli pioneer leaders. David ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Yitzchak Rabin and dozens of others who reclaimed the land are all gone and Arik Sharon lies in a hospital bed. The only one of the old guard left is Shimon Peres.
The world needs men like Teddy Kolleck, a man who built something wonderful out of nothing with little but guts and determination and a dream. His death is a tragedy not only for his family and Jerusalem and Israel, but for all people.
The shame is magnified because we are losing such people at a time when the world needs them almost as never before and there doesn’t seem to be many who are rising to take their place anywhere in the world. That is the reason all people should mourn the passing of a man such as Teddy Kolleck.