Sam Kiley makes the ridiculous statement that in 1945 ‘Tel Aviv was . . . no more
than a few jerry-built blocks and huts’. I was there early in 1945 as an RAF pilot
and witnessed the actuality: a handsome city of over 200,000 inhabitants designed in
part by Bauhaus architects who were 1930s refugees from Nazi Germany. Their work is now
a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Kiley [absurdly] describes the 1945 Tel Aviv population as “frequently starved
and broken shells of humanity who had made it through the death camps”. In fact
most of them had lived in Tel Aviv since the 1920s. [I spent a week’s leave with
one prosperous Jewish family in their elegant home. They took me to concerts and recitals
by world-class musicians.]
Published in The Observer, 27 April 2008 (passages
in square brackets omitted).