When I lived in Jerusalem in the 1970s, working as foreign press attaché for Teddy Kollek, the legendary mayor of Jerusalem, we would seek out good food in East Jerusalem’s restaurants. The best ones in West Jerusalem were mostly for tourists, ersatz Italian or French or hotel restaurants that were known for their boiled chicken and Eastern European, overcooked Jewish food. As Henry Kissinger, on a trip to the city, said, “In a country with 2 1/2 million Jewish mothers, you’d think the food would be better.”
Teddy Kollek, the longtime Jerusalem mayor who died this week at the age of 95, is being remembered as the most prolific builder of the city since King Herod.
I first visited Jerusalem with an invited party of foreign journalists in 1966, when it was still a divided city at the end of the line. The nearest we got to a holy or historic site was Mount Zion, an Israeli outpost on the fringe of the Old City, and a scale model of the Second Temple at the Holyland Hotel.