Yehuda Haezrahi, Writer, Advocate of a Beautiful Jerusalem, Dead at 54

Funeral services were held yesterday for Yehuda Haezrahi, a writer and one of the most consistent campaigners for a beautiful Jerusalem, who died Friday night at the age of 54. As the leader of the Jerusalem branch of “The Council for a Beautiful Israel,” Mr. Haezrahi devoted his last years to an uninterrupted battle for the preservation of the beauty of the capital, inveighing against the intensive developments of skyscrapers and modern hotels which were obliterating buildings of historical value.

Described by many as the “Don Quixote of Jerusalem,” he stubbornly led the battle for architectural beauty from his Jerusalem stone-built home in one of the city’s older neighborhoods.

I first came across the name of Yehuda Haezrahi when I was 10 years old. At the time, he was one of the editors of what was then a very successful radio satire program patterned after Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in A Boat.” Mr. Haezrahi projected the image of a witty, cynical writer. But when I met him again some 15 years later and got to know him I discovered a very sensitive, perhaps even sad person. Somewhat absent-minded, he could sit for hours on end and complain at length about the damage being done to the city he loves so much.

The Jerusalem-born Mr. Haezrahi was recently engaged in writing a book of his impressions of the Yom Kippur War. The book was a compilation of articles dealing with the human side of soldiers at war. His last published article, “Dying Uptight,” dealt with nature, with Jerusalem and with the ailing forest in Bab el-Wad along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road. He was the author of many books and plays and was the winner of the Akum Prize for literature and the Agron Prize for journalism.

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