Bad neighbor


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is outraged that Libyan strongman Muammar Gafhafi may be spending a few nights as his neighbor in Englewood, N.J., and it’s not just because of Gadhafi’s sponsorship of terrorist activities in decades past: It’s also because the Libyans have cut down 10 of Boteach’s trees.

Boteach talked about it at a news conference on Wednesday on his front lawn. The New York Times reports:

The rabbi said, “When you have an international financier of terror moving in next door, it’s very unnerving.”

What is more, he said, workers installing a 2,000-foot black metal fence around the Libyan compound have cut down 10 of his trees and a stretch of his chain-link fence. He is considering a lawsuit.

It is still not clear that Colonel Qaddafi will, indeed, visit Englewood. Representative Steven R. Rothman, the area’s congressman, said he had been told by the White House and the State Department that Libya had not decided where Colonel Qaddafi would stay. The congressman has asked that Colonel Qaddafi be restricted to Manhattan, though Jason Post, a spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, said that a few weeks ago officials turned down a Libyan request to honor a Bedouin tradition of traveling with a tent by letting Colonel Qaddafi pitch his in Central Park.

Mr. Rothman said that when the Libyan government bought the nearly five-acre estate in 1982, it signed an agreement that said the only residents there would be the Libyan ambassador to the United Nations, his family and a maintenance worker. The mission has always honored the agreement, the representative said, though Englewood officials concede that the agreement would not restrict a guest camping out on the lawn.

Full story here.

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