After a long 20-year fight led by rightists and haredim to prevent it, a Jerusalem street has finally been named for the extremely controversial Orthodox Hebrew University Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz.
Above: Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz
Jerusalem Street Finally To Be Named For Controversial Orthodox Academic
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
After a long 20-year fight to prevent it, a Jerusalem street has finally been named for Orthodox Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a longtime resident of the city, Ha’aretz reported.
Leibowitz – who was a scholar, a scientist, an editor of the Hebrew Encyclopedia and the brother of noted Bible scholar Nehama Leibowitz – died in August 1994. He taught natural science, neurophysiology, neurology, organic chemistry, mathematics, philosophy and the history of science at Hebrew University for decades.
But naming the street after Leibowitz was very controversial because Leibowitz was a vociferous and fierce critic of Israel's West Bank policy who saw some of Israel’s actions there as crimes. Just after the 1967’s Six Day War in which Israel captured the West Bank, Leibowitz predicted many of the problems and abuses that would eventually bring.
Even as Israel was being founded in 1948, Leibowitz was a fierce supporter of separating synagogue from state – drawing the ire of many Zionist Orthodox and haredim.
He was nominated for the Israel Prize in 1993 but refused it due to the controversy awarding it to him generated.
Right-wing activists joined with local haredi leaders to block the street-naming time and time and time again.
The new street sign is already up, but the official ceremony is for the naming of the street – a new access road to the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus – will be held two weeks from now.
Herzliya – which has few rightists and even fewer haredim – named a street for Leibowitz three years ago.