Historical Trail in the Ayalon Valley

Thursday, November 29, 2012 10:46 AM

KKL-JNF has introduced a special tour in Ayalon Park in memory of Yitzhak Rabin – a path which follows the story of the battle for the two strategic command posts in Latrun in 1948.

Tracking an Error in the Ayalon Valley

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02.11.2012, Dubi Zakai

A beautiful route in the Ayalon Valley recalling the battle of Latrun in which our forces suffered heavy losses due to a navigation error.

 


Park Ayalon view. Photo: KKL-JNF Archive.

 

Autumn is declaring its reign these days in Ayalon Park (Canada Park). The deciduous trees are slowly coming to terms with the advent of winter and are painting their leaves shades of yellow and brown. Breezes from the Ayalon Valley are shaking the leaves in a dizzying dance until they fall lifeless at the foot of the trees. The convoys of clouds moving from the west are casting fleeting shadows on the expanses of the Ayalon Valley as they move east. The beautiful valley is calm, with trails wending their way through the fields and climbing on beautiful hiking trails to the park. During the War of Independence, however, a fierce battle took place here, in which many of our fighters fell.

 

One of the tours introduced by KKL-JNF to commemorate Yitzhak Rabin is this special tour in the heart of Ayalon Park, tracking the story of the fatal error in the battle for the command post.

 

On June 8 and 9, 1948, the third attempt to conquer Latrun was made in order to open the road to Jerusalem and conquer the two Jordanian command posts that were covering it. Operation Yoram was planned for taking Command Posts 13 and 14.

 

Two platoons were sent on the assignment—Platoon 5 from the Harel Brigade was assigned the takeover of 13, and Platoon 3 from the Yiftah Brigade was assigned to pass Command Post 13, and then, after its defeat, to conquer Command Post 14. A navigation error found Platoon 5 charging Command Post 14, conquering it in difficult combat and reporting incorrectly that Command Post 13 had been conquered. Platoon 3 ascended, according to the original plan, to Command Post 13, and the commanders of the platoon, who had been informed that the post was in the hands of our soldiers, were surprised to encounter Jordanians there. They had to retreat. Platoon 5 remained isolated in the field and had to retreat with their wounded. Fifteen soldiers were lost.

 

KKL-JNF has organized a beautiful hiking route among the pines and the cypress trees. A trail between two rows of stones passes through the fortifications of the Jordanian forces culminating at Command Post 13, where there is a panoramic view of the Ayalon Valley. This route is part of a jeep tour that will take place in memory of Yitzhak Rabin in the Jerusalem Hills. The tour, led by KKL-JNF tour guide Dorit Sadovsky, begins at the entrance to Ayalon Park, proceeds to the command posts, the memorial for the forces that opened the road to Jerusalem, the convoy route and parts of the historical Burma Road. The tour is to conclude at a gathering with group singing on Burma Road. The route is about 25 kilometers long, and the duration of the tour is around two hours. Starting out today at 09:00, it is suitable for ATVs. For more information about the tour, call KKL-JNF at 1-800-350-550. The tour is free of charge.

 

For independent hikers, to get to Command Post 13, drive on Highway 3 (east from the Latrun Interchange) to the Ayalon Park entrance. Turn right into the park and drive until the first right turn (reset the mileage meter). Follow the trail marked in red. At 0.5 km turn right onto a small bridge (red trail). At 0.7 km turn left onto the southern scenic road of the park. At 1.1 km there is a panoramic view from a building with a large dome and an observation deck. This is the tomb of Ibn Jabal, the Muslim sheik and warrior. At 1.3 km, on the right, is a trail marked by stones. Park the vehicle and proceed on foot. After about fifteen minutes of walking by the Jordanian positions marked by stones, you will reach Command Post 13, where there is a commemoration sign and a beautiful view of the valley.