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Amsterdam Will Have Its Third Successive Jewish Mayor in 6 Years

Amsterdam, capital of The Netherlands and its second largest city, will have its third Jewish Mayor in succession over a period of six years. He is Ed Van Thijn, 48, who will succeed Willem Polak when he retires next month. The Mayors of Dutch cities are appointed by the government.

Van Thijn, like all of his predecessors since the end of World War II, is a member of the Labor Party (PVDA). Born in Amsterdam, he became a municipal councilor in 1962 and a member of Parliament in 1967. He was elected chairman of the Labor Party’s Parliamentary faction in 1981 and served for seven months as Minister of Interior.

Van Thijn freely acknowledges his Jewish ancestry. But he is not associated with any Jewish organization and, in recent years, has been a strong critic of the Israeli government of Premier Menachem Begin which he considers reactionary. He stated, in an article written two years ago, that as a Jew he feels solidarity with all minority groups in Holland and elsewhere.