LONDON (Oct. 8)
Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem described his united city yesterday as one where there is peace and cooperation on all levels between its Jewish and Arab citizens even though the Arabs, who are free to express themselves, may have preferred a “different management.” Mr. Kollek is in London in connection with the publication of a book he has written on Jerusalem and will go to Copenhagen to dedicate “Israel Square” in the center of the Danish capital on Thursday.
He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that 6,000 Arabs from East Jerusalem are currently employed in West Jerusalem in industry, construction work, municipal services and in various administrative posts. They receive the same wages as Jewish workers and are entitled to the same benefits, he said. He emphasized that one of the aims of the Israeli administration was to raise East Jerusalem to the same level of services as the rest of the city; under Jordanian rule, before the Six-Day War, East Jerusalem had low taxes and a low grade of municipal services. “We are now bringing the services in East Jerusalem to the West Jerusalem level and while the taxes on the Arab residents will rise to the levels paid by Jews, they will be spread over four years,” Mr. Kollek said. He acknowledged that this was a drain on the municipal treasury that was only partly compensated by the Government, “but in the long run it will be an economic as well as a moral gain,” he said.
Mr. Kollek described united Jerusalem as not only the capital of the state but a city hallowed by three great faiths and beloved by its citizens, Jewish and Arab alike, despite their different political views. He said that next year’s municipal elections will be the first in which the Arabs of East Jerusalem will be able to vote by general franchise and predicted that there will be about 25,000 Arab ballots cast. Under Jordanian rule, the vote was limited to male property owners and taxpayers. “We are hoping for a number of Arab city councilmen after the next election,” he said. He added that he himself would refuse to run for re-election unless the mayor was elected by all the people instead of appointed by the municipality as is the current practice.
Mr. Kollek said his trip to Copenhagen coincided with the 25th anniversary of the rescue of Danish Jewry from the Nazis by Danish citizens. In acknowledgement of that event, a central square in Jerusalem has been named Copenhagen Square and the largest school in the city will be called Denmark High School. Four hundred Danes are coming to Jerusalem to attend the dedication ceremonies, he said, and the Danish Government decided to rename a square in its capital, “Israel Square” in reciprocity.