Rabinovich resurrected: ‘Dead’ oligarch turns up at square in his name

Vadim Rabinovich Z"L square (Photo from www.ohtyrka.net)
In Jerusalem’s Old City, a prominent person has to be dead for at least 500 years to get a chance to have a personal landmark. But a Ukrainian oligarch not only got one despite still being alive, but also gave a speech at the renaming ceremony.

­One of the landmark squares in the Old City is named Vadim Rabinovich Z"L, after a Ukrainian oligarch and philanthropist who donated millions to rebuild the Hurva Synagogue and funded a $3 million replica of the Temple menorah set in the square now named after him.

The abbreviation Z"L stands for “Zichrono Livracha” (meaning "may his/ her memory be a blessing" in Hebrew). The city renamed the square after a petition was filed, stating the businessman has died.

Far from it, the Ukrainian oligarch turned out to be alive and well – and present at the square renaming ceremony in April, giving a speech to a cheering crowd.

The renaming of the square that faces the Western Wall in the midst of the Old City is now being objected in the High Court of Justice. The incident caused many disputes not only because the prominent sponsor is still alive, but because the renaming violated the law in the first place.

According to the City Councilwoman Rachel Azaria, the municipal law prohibits naming streets and squares after individuals who have been dead for less than three years. And in the case of the Old City one gets a chance have a personal landmark only after being dead for over 500 years.

The “deceased” Ukrainian oligarch donated millions to the city but “Jerusalem is fortunate to have many important donors who are worthy of being honored," Azaria said as cited by Jerusalem post. "There are laws and rules and they must be obeyed. The fact that Rabinovich Square was named in a fraudulent and illegal process is deeply disturbing."

The municipality is now examining the claims of fraudulent nature of the renaming procedure, refusing to answer further questions until the investigation is finished.