UPDATE: Several commenters below are correct in noting that the Jerusalem municipality has made the Adelsons honorary citizens of the city. It appears my original source for this story confused these two honors.
Regardless, Jerusalem streets are named for poets, scholars, rabbis and military heroes. This is the first time I know of that a gambling tycoon has been so honored. As someone suggested in my Facebook feed: next up for honors should be Meir Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. They have as much right to it as Adelson.
Also, apparently an Israeli town named a street after Gaby Ashkenazi, a very much living former IDF chief of staff. Also, a square in Jerusalem’s Old City has been named for a living Russian oligarch, who the city mistakenly believed was dead. There’s even a lawsuit over that one.
In a distinct departure from custom, the Jerusalem municipality announced that it would name a street for American casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson. In Israel, streets are named after individuals after they pass away. So perhaps this may’ve been the expression of an unconscious wish to speed the process along in Adelson’s case. I haven’t yet heard of a street named for someone still living. Given Adelson’s Godfather status as moneyman to Bibi Netanyahu, the municipality found it possible to make an exception in this case.
The decision regarding honoring Adelson comes on the heels of the controversial approval of a plan, years in the making, to name a street for one of Israel’s most prominent public intellectuals, Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz. He was an Orthodox Jew, Hebrew University professor, and notorious opponent of the settler kingdom. One of his most famous coinages was the term “Judeo-Nazi.” Orthodox and rightist elements on the municipal council held up plans to honor Leibowitz for years.
Jerusalem apparently had plans to name a street for another Hebrew University professor, Zeev Sternhell. But Jack Teitel’s plans to kill Sternhell with a bomb went astray when the bomb merely wounded rather than killed him. So plans for a street-naming for Sternhell will be put aside for now.
Perhaps the decision in Adelson’s case was a quid pro quo. It won’t hurt the city in its efforts to attract Adelson’s vast largesse that it has named a street for him. I don’t know which particular street and in which neighborhood it will be. But I suggest that given Adelson’s collusion with Chinese mafiosi and charges his Macao property procured prostitutes for some of his gambling high-rollers, that the street be in Jerusalem’s red light district.
But knowing Jerusalem’s intensely nationalistic mayor, Rehov Adelson is liable to be smack dab in the middle of Silwan or Sheikh Jarrah.