Jerusalem Street Named for Yeshayahu Leibowitz After 20-year Fight

Illustrious scholar and scientist and Orthodox Jew stirred controversy by attacking settlement enterprise, making him a hero of the left.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
Yeshayahu Leibowitz
Yeshayahu Leibowitz. A man of moral clarity. Credit: Alex Levac
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

After a 20-year battle, a street has been named for Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the scholar, scientist, Hebrew Encyclopedia editor and apocalyptic prophet who died in August 1994.

Leibowitz was a fierce critic of Israel's policies in the territories. Leftist leaders in Jerusalem, where he resided most of his life, have pushed for a street be named after him since his death. However, right-wing and Haredi opposition foiled their attempts time and again.

Last year, the city approved – with support from Mayor Nir Barkat – naming a street after Leibowitz, and the street sign was recently put up. The official ceremony is to be held in two weeks in the presence of his family. The street chosen is a new access road to the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus, coming from the direction of the Givat Mordechai neighborhood.

"The honor is not Leibowitz's but Jerusalem's," commented Yosef Alalu, a Meretz representative on the city council, who led the campaign. "Even the place that was selected, at the university entrance, is ideal. He was among the greatest intellectuals of our generation, who did not hide his thoughts. It is a pity we needed to wait 20 years for this moment."

Jerusalem is the second city in the country to honor Leibowitz's memory with a street. Herzliya approved a street in his name three years ago.

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