What's in a (Street) Name?
Israel, with its string national mythology and ideological planning process, is the same - only moreso. The first house I lived in in Israel was on Modechai Anilewitz Street, named for the hero ofthe Warsaw ghetto and symbol of the heroic Jewish resistance fighter. Then we moved to Zangwill Street, named after the Israel Zangwill the famous Anglo Jewish author, play-write, early Zionist, and the man who popularized the slogan "A land without a people for a people without a land". Later we moved to Herzl St, named for the founder of modern political Zionism, and still later to Katzenelson St - named for a founder of the Histadruth trade union movement.
But now the Mapa Corporation of Israel has collected and published a statistical summary of all street names in Israel. So what and whom do Israelis honour in there street names?
Turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that Israelis cherish biblical agricultural images of their homeland. This is followed by Jerusalem - both the present capital and a historic symbol. Somewhat surprisingly, the most honoured individual is the right wing ideologue and early Zionist, Zeev Jabotinsky. Labour leaders where farther down the list. And women fare very poorly in the list of honours by street name.
So here is a summary of the findings:
HaGefen (grape vine) - 105,
HaTe'ena (fig) - 95,
HaRimon (pomegranate) - 89,
HaTamar (date palm) - 70,
HaDekel (palm) - 70,
Ha'Ela (pistachio/terebinth) - 63
HaShaked and HaBrosh (almond and cypress) - 62 each
Jerusalem - 59,
Jabotinsky - 55,
Herzl - 52,
Ben-Gurion - 48,
- Shabazi (Yemeni rabbi and poet) - 48,
Weizmann (Israel's first President) - 47,
Bialik (Israel's "national" poet) - 43,
Begin (Israel's first right wing Prime Minister) - 42,
- Hannah Szenes (Israeli paratrooper killed in WWII) - 38,
Moshe Sharett Israel's first Foreign Minister, and second Prime Minister) - 35,
Levi Eshkol (Israel's 4th Prime Minister) - 31
Haim Arlozoroff (leader of the Labour Zionist Movement prior to his assassination in 1933) - 31,
Rabin (Labour Prime Minister assassinated in 1994) - 30,
King David - 28,
King Solomon - 28,
King Saul 25,