NEW YORK (Aug. 26)
Moshe Tzahar, the Mayor of Tiberias, his wife and 33 other residents of that Israeli biblical city are visiting “The Big Apple” this week as part of their American tour. The group, which includes 10 teenagers comprising a dance and singing troupe, earlier visited Allentown, Pa., which became a “Sister City” of Tiberias last year. A delegation from Allentown went to Tiberias last year and the Tiberians now returned the visit.
Tzahar, known affectionately as “the little Ben Gurion” throughout Israel and who served in 1948 as Israel’s first acting Premier, met Mayor Abraham Beame at a City Hall reception where the teenage troupe serenaded New York’s chief executive and guests. During the reception, Tzahar, 72, and Beame, 71, engaged in light banter in the spirit of comradeship and affection.
As the two mayors were introduced, Beame smiled and said, “I’m going to enjoy this. I’ve just found a mayor as short as I am.” The New York Mayor is five-foot-two. Beame presented Tzahar with a lithograph of City Hall and Tzahar reciprocated by presenting the New Yorker with a reproduction of a coin used in Tiberias almost 1900 years ago.
RIPPED-OFF ON LOWER EAST SIDE
But it wasn’t all fun and games for the Tiberians. There were no mishaps in Allentown or on their bus tour of Niagara Falls, Toronto and Washington, nor for that matter in New York where they visited Wall Street, Chinatown, Staten Island and Rockefeller Center. But a visit to the Lower East Side Tuesday jolted their equanimity and left them minus eight suitcases filled with an estimated $4000 worth of heirlooms, presents and two passports.
As far as they could reconstruct the rip-off caper, it happened while they were having lunch at a deli. While they were eating there, their bus driver was eating at a dairy restaurant around the corner. The thieves apparently looted the bus at that time. The Tiberians didn’t miss their luggage until later that night. The visitors were crestfallen but said they couldn’t blame the city. Tzahar appealed to the thieves to return objects that could only be of sentimental value to their owners. The Tiberians are leaving in a few days and are hoping all their luggage will be accompanying them.