Mayor of Jerusalem
In 1965 Teddy Kollek succeeded Mordechai Ish-Shalom as Mayor of Jerusalem. On his motivations for seeking the mayor’s office in Jerusalem, Kollek once recalled:
- I got into this by accident[...] I was bored. When the city was united, I saw this as an historic occasion. To take care of it and show better care than anyone else ever has is a full life purpose. I think Jerusalem is the one essential element in Jewish history. A body can live without an arm or a leg, not without the heart. This is the heart and soul of it.
During his tenure Jerusalem developed into a modern city, especially after its reunification in 1967 He was often called “the greatest builder of Jerusalem since Herod.”
Kollek was re-elected five times, in 1969, 1973, 1978, 1983, and 1989 (with all but 1969 being direct elections), serving 28 years as mayor of Jerusalem. In a reluctant seventh bid for mayor in 1993, Kollek, aged 82, lost to Likud candidate Ehud Olmert.