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Friday, May 30, 2008

Take a look over there...

... at the OU web site for a piece I wrote for Yom Yerushalayim.  This year we celebrate the 1967 re-unification of Jerusalem starting on Sunday evening June 1st.

I tried to strike a balance between my usual sappiness over the miraculous events of the Six Day War... and  my current  dismay (to say the least) at how little many Israelis/Jews seem to value this precious gift that was placed in our hands.


Colonel Motta Gur gave the following speech to his soldier on the Temple Mount after it was captured:

" Paratroopers, conquerors of Jerusalem!

When the Temple Mount was conquered by the Greeks it was liberated by the Maccabbees.

The "Kanaim" and Bar Kochva fought against those that destroyed the Second Temple. For 2,000 years the Temple Mount was off limits to the Jews.

Until you, the paratroopers, came and returned it to the bosom of its people. The Western Wall, towards which every Jewish heart beats, is again in our hands. Many Jews risked their lives, over our very long history, to come to Jerusalem and to reside in it.

An infinite number of wistful poems have expressed the profound desire for Jerusalem that beats in every Jewish heart. During the War of Liberation incredible efforts were made to reclaim the heart of the people - the Old City and the Western Wall.

To you has fallen the great privilege to complete the circle, to give back to the people its eternal capital and its sacred center.

Many paratroopers, our finest and most veteran comrades, fell in this terrible battle.
It was a rapid and ferocious battle. In it you functioned as one body that crushed anything that stood in your way without concern for your own injuries. You did not gripe, you did not complain, you did not report, you just advanced and conquered.

Jerusalem is yours - forever."

Too many people... especially our leaders... conveniently forgoten these words and ignore the basic law passed in 1980 that clearly sates "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.".

Anyway, go on over and have a read... and Let me know what you think.

In the mean time, we've finished our pre-shabbat chores early so Zahava and I are taking the kids to Jerusalem for the day.  Because, y'know... we can!

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by David Bogner on May 30, 2008 | Permalink


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Nice writing, David. Have fun in Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: val | May 30, 2008 1:32:12 PM

This year in my preschool class I will again accompany the photographs and re-telling of the story of the re-unification of Yerushalayim with the audio broadcast. Even the four and five year olds find it quite stirring when they know the background, and among the adults there is never a dry eye in the house.

Hope you have a wonderful time today - what's on the agenda?


Posted by: Debbie | May 30, 2008 2:39:25 PM

Shabbat Shalom

Posted by: SaraK | May 30, 2008 4:42:47 PM

Nice piece of writing. I also love the photo you've put up here.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | May 30, 2008 5:00:31 PM

Simply superb, David! May you be blessed with many, many links!

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Lynn B. | May 30, 2008 5:28:10 PM

That has always been one of my favorite images.

Posted by: David Bailey | May 30, 2008 6:36:17 PM

So here's the thing about Jerusalem for me:

1. I was born there but didn't grow up there.
2. I never get lost in Jerusalem, is that like imprinting?
3.Whenever I go there I feel at peace as if I've reconnected with my "source".
4. Number 3 didn't happen the last time. That was when I accompanied 31 screaming banshees (my daughter's 3rd grade class) on a trip to Jerusalem.

Posted by: QuietusLeo | May 31, 2008 7:38:46 PM

My wife's stepfather was a paratrooper under Motta Gur on that day, and has seen himself in some of those famous pictures. He grew up on a completely secular Kibbutz called Nitzanim, faithless and disconnected from anything Jewish. Any holidays they "celebrated" were devoid of Godliness, and rituals were done for purely nationalistic reasons. Yet even he admits to feeling somehow that a divine power was taking care of Israel at that time. I love to watch him tell the story as it happened through his own eyes - very inspiring.

Did you used to listen to the annual JM in the AM broadcast? They did a great job with these radio moments.

In your article you pondered your right to address the issue as a "newbie," or the right of anyone to spurn such a gift, or the idea that since that day in June the troubles here only got worse. Let's remember that General Dayan ordered the Israeli flag to be taken down within an hour of it being raised, and the spoils of the victory were extremely short-lived. To be fair, the troubles that haunt us from that day are not a reflection of what was gained or accomplished, but rather the cowardice of the leadership who did not, and still do not, actually believe that any gift ever existed. The notion that there is anything divine about the Jewish people in relation to the Temple Mount, or biblical cities such as Jericho, Hevron, Elon Moreh and Shechem (Nablus), is non-existent to the majority of the top-brass then, and now. But the look in my completely secular stepfather's eyes, and the quiet, head-down admissions of some higher spark, makes me feel that in the end most of these people are just hiding their true feelings for personal gain, and so I can remain optimistic about the potential for change.

Posted by: yonah | Jun 1, 2008 2:01:37 AM

Loved the piece.

When (and where) is Ronen's broadcast played? Or do you listen to it on the internet?

Posted by: Baila | Jun 1, 2008 6:42:28 AM

Even more tear inspiring than the radio broadcast (your post on the OU website is great!) is the reunion I saw a few years ago when I was in Israel for Yom Haatzmaut of the 3 paratroopers in that famous picture who hadn't seen each other since the war. It was on "Shishi B'Gaon" and there wasn't a dry eye in the studio audience..

Posted by: Marsha in Stamford | Jun 1, 2008 6:43:49 AM

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