Murdered former Minister Rahavam Zeevi will not be memorialized at Shaar Hagai along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, but rather in a different location - apparently in Gush Etzion south of Jerusalem, Reshet Bet reported Tuesday night.
Shaar Hagai was the scene of brutal attacks by Arabs against Jewish convoys bringing supplies to the starving Jewish population of Jerusalem during the War of Independence.
According to the new report, following protests against the original intention to name a memorial site at Shaar Hagai after Zeevi, the site is to be named instead after the Jewish convoys to Jerusalem. The decision has been accepted by the Prime Minister’s office, which said that it is working to find a replacement site.
The “Later generations for the memorialization of Palmah fighters” organization, which stood behind the decision against calling the site after Zeevi, praised the decision, but is waiting for an official notification on the matter, as the original intention to name the site for Zeevi is still in force until a replacement site is found.
Family members of Zeevi said they were okay with the decision as long as the replacement site is “respectable.” “We are very amazed by the heritage that remains [from Zeevi] and we want to pass it on to the children. Just as the government decided that the [memorial] will be at Shaar Hagai, if [the replacement site] will be another respectable location acceptable to us, we’ll do the same work there,” Zeevi’s son Palmah Zeevi told Yediot Aharonot on Wednesday.
On the other hand, the Zionist Union faction praised last night the decision to call the Shaar Hagai site after the Jewish convoys and not after Zeevi, but called “not to memorialize Zeevi at any location,” citing unproven claims against Zeevi of sexual harassment.
Rehavam Zeevi was an IDF general and the outspoken head of the Moledet party.
He advocated 'voluntary transfer' - paying Arab residents of Judea and Samaria to emigrate and take up residence in new countries where they could feel more comfortable, at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer.
He was also sharply opposed to the Oslo Accords, and led and participated in many protests against them. In 2001, he was appointed Tourism Minister in the government of Ariel Sharon – the first government position he took in over a decade - after he resigned from Yitzhak Shamir's government when Shamir agreed to discuss Israeli concessions at the Madrid Conference. Despite his firmly right-wing views, Ze'evi was a longtime comrade of murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, with whom he served heroically in the pre-state Palmach fighting brigade.
His nickname, Gandhi, according to legend, was given to him by Palmach members, who said that Zeevi looked like the Indian leader when he wore long Arab-style robes during his undercover work in the Palmach.
Zeevi was murdered at the height of the Second Intifada, as he left the Hyatt Hotel on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. Zeevi's murder was organized by top Arab terrorist Ahmad Saadat, one of the few terrorists Israel refused to release in the deal to exchange over 1,000 terrorists for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
An expose by the TV program “Uvda” in April 2016 included unproven allegations against Zeevi of sexual harassment and connections to the underworld. Zeevi’s family opposed the broadcast, and filed a petition - which was rejected - to prevent the airing of the expose, claiming that it was unfair that Zeevi was no longer alive to defend himself against the allegations, and that police investigations into criminal ties had proved fruitless.