ANZAC 100 - Generations of Fighters for Jerusalem

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Ammunition Hill was captured during the 1967 Six Day War in a bloody battle.

An event marking 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem took place at Ammunition Hill on Saturday night, on the sixth day of the Australian ANZAC Centenary delegation’s visit to Israel. The choice of this site emphasized the direct connection between the British conquest of Jerusalem one hundred years ago and the reunification of the capital of Israel during the Six Day War.

Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatachmoshet) was captured during the 1967 Six Day War by IDF paratroopers, in a bloody battle that was waged in bunkers and trenches. This battle became a symbol of valor and determination.

A museum to commemorate the battle for Jerusalem was erected at the site. KKL-JNF has been involved over the years in developing this heritage site, with the support of its friends from the USA, Canada and Australia, particularly the contribution of Harry Triguboff, a major friend of JNF Australia. This support makes the daily operation of the site possible, along with the development of the green landscaping and the upgrade of the amphitheater.

Alon Wald, a member of the Ammunition Hill administration, guided the guests on their visit to the site. His father, Rami Wald, was killed on Ammunition Hill during the Six Day War, and he was survived by Alon, who was only ten months old. “I have been following my father’s heritage my entire life,” he told the audience. “His battle comrades adopted me, and through them I tried to understand who he was. The story of Ammunition Hill is not just about war, but also about the values of comradeship and love of Israel.”

The members of the delegation walked between the remains of tanks and armored vehicles, which have been left on Ammunition Hill since the war. They walked through the trenches and the bunkers where the battle raged, and heard stories of courageous men. They were moved when they saw the movies in which Six Day War soldiers describe the battles that were fought for the liberation of Jerusalem. They visited the recently completed underground museum that describes the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967.

“The circle that began with the conquest of the land of Israel with the participation of the ANZAC soldiers, the Balfour Declaration, the establishment of the state of Israel, the reunification of Jerusalem, the present time – all these events are part of a long chain,” said KKL-JNF Tourism and Missions Director Shlomo Benhaiem.

Howard Kiel, Aharon Kanat and Lea Black, who represented the delegation, read poems and prose in honor of Jerusalem and in appreciation of the warriors who conquered the city. Everyone joined the singer Hagit Maoz in singing “Jerusalem of Gold” with a great deal of feeling.

“Throughout our trip, we have been focusing on the heroes who liberated the land of Israel and in whose merit we have our beloved state,” said JNF Australia CEO Dan Springer. “Who would have believed a hundred years ago, when the ANZAC fighters conquered Jerusalem, that, fifty years later, Israeli Army paratroopers would accomplish the same feat?”

Afterwards, a Havdalah ceremony was conducted to mark the end of Shabbat. The evening concluded with songs of Jerusalem, and many of the members of the delegation got up to dance and ended the night on the dance floor.