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Monday, June 02, 2008

It's that time again

I've written about it every year on this day.

I've spent the last couple of days recounting the sweet... as well as the bitter. Because today is truly about the 'dvash v'oketz' of our eternal capitol; Jerusalem.

Shut off your cell phone... lock the door... set out a box of tissues... close your eyes... and listen.

Translation (rough):

[To properly appreciate this you need to imagine being somewhere in Israel at the time, listening to this broadcast over your radio at home (perhaps in a bomb shelter)... or wherever your reserve unit was stationed at that moment.]

Colonel Motta Gur [on loudspeaker]: All company commanders, we’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem, that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City. Eitan’s tanks will advance on the left and will enter the Lion’s Gate. The final rendezvous will be on the open square above.
[The open square of the Temple Mount.]

[Sound of applause by the soldiers.]

Yossi Ronen: We are now walking on one of the main streets of Jerusalem towards the Old City. The head of the force is about to enter the Old City.


Yossi Ronen: There is still shooting from all directions; we’re advancing towards the entrance of the Old City.

[Sound of gunfire and soldiers’ footsteps.]

[Yelling of commands to soldiers.]

[More soldiers’ footsteps.]

The soldiers are keeping a distance of approximately 5 meters between them. It’s still dangerous to walk around here; there is still sniper shooting here and there.


We’re all told to stop; we’re advancing towards the mountainside; on our left is the Mount of Olives; we’re now in the Old City opposite the Russian church. I’m right now lowering my head; we’re running next to the mountainside. We can see the stone walls. They’re still shooting at us. The Israeli tanks are at the entrance to the Old City, and ahead we go, through the Lion’s Gate. I’m with the first unit to break through into the Old City. There is a Jordanian bus next to me, totally burnt; it is very hot here. We’re about to enter the Old City itself. We’re standing below the Lion’s Gate, the Gate is about to come crashing down, probably because of the previous shelling. Soldiers are taking cover next to the palm trees; I’m also staying close to one of the trees. We’re getting further and further into the City.


Colonel Motta Gur announces on the army wireless: The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!

All forces, stop firing! This is the David Operations Room. All forces, stop firing! I repeat, all forces, stop firing! Over.

Commander eight-nine here, is this Motta (Gur) talking? Over.

[Inaudible response on the army wireless by Motta Gur.]

Uzi Narkiss: Motta, there isn’t anybody like you. You’re next to the Mosque of Omar.

Yossi Ronen: I’m driving fast through the Lion’s Gate all the way inside the Old City.

Command on the army wireless: Search the area, destroy all pockets of resistance [but don't touch anything in the houses], especially the holy places.

[Lt.- Col. Uzi Eilam blows the Shofar.  Soldiers are singing ‘Jerusalem of Gold’.]

Uzi Narkiss: Tell me, where is the Western Wall? How do we get there?

Yossi Ronen: I’m walking right now down the steps towards the Western Wall. I’m not a religious man, I never have been, but this is the Western Wall and I’m touching the stones of the Western Wall.

Soldiers: [reciting the ‘Shehechianu’ blessing]: Baruch ata Hashem, elokeinu melech haolam, she-hechianu ve-kiemanu ve-hegianu la-zman ha-zeh. [Translation: Blessed art Thou L-rd G-d King of the Universe who has sustained us and kept us and has brought us to this day]

Rabbi Shlomo Goren: Baruch ata Hashem, menachem tsion u-voneh Yerushalayim. [Translation: Blessed are thou, who comforts Zion and bulids Jerusalem]

Soldiers: Amen!

[Soldiers sing ‘Hatikva’ next to the Western Wall.]

Rabbi Goren: We’re now going to recite the prayer for the fallen soldiers of this war against all of the enemies of Israel:

[Soldiers weeping]

El male rahamim, shohen ba-meromim. Hamtse menuha nahona al kanfei hashina, be-maalot kedoshim, giborim ve-tehorim, kezohar harakiya meirim u-mazhirim. Ve-nishmot halalei tsava hagana le-yisrael, she-naflu be-maaraha zot, neged oievei yisrael, ve-shnaflu al kedushat Hashem ha-am ve-ha’arets, ve-shichrur Beit Hamikdash, Har Habayit, Hakotel ha-ma’aravi veyerushalayim ir ha-elokim. Be-gan eden tehe menuhatam. Lahen ba’al ha-rahamim, yastirem beseter knafav le-olamim. Ve-yitsror be-tsror ha-hayim et nishmatam adoshem hu nahlatam, ve-yanuhu be-shalom al mishkavam [soldiers weeping loud]ve-ya’amdu le-goralam le-kets ha-yamim ve-nomar amen!

[Translation: Merciful G-d in heaven, may the heroes and the pure, be under thy Divine wings, among the holy and the pure who shine bright as the sky, and the souls of soldiers of the Israeli army who fell in this war against the enemies of Israel, who fell for their loyalty to G-d and the land of Israel, who fell for the liberation of the Temple, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and Jerusalem the city of the Lord. May their place of rest be in paradise. Merciful One, O keep their souls forever alive under Thy protective wings. The Lord being their heritage, may they rest in peace, for they shalt rest and stand up for their allotted portion at the end of the days, and let us say, Amen.]

[Soldiers are weeping. Rabbi Goren sounds the shofar.  Sound of gunfire in the background.]

Rabbi Goren: Le-shana HA-ZOT be-Yerushalayim ha-b’nuya, be-yerushalayim ha-atika! [Translation: This year in a rebuilt Jerusalem! In the Jerusalem of old!] *

* The historic radio broadcast of the liberation of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall was researched,  transcribed and translated by Yitschak Horneman / Quality Translations, Jerusalem (with some minor corrections over the years from helpful treppenwitz readers).

Posted by David Bogner on June 2, 2008 | Permalink


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Thanks for that, just reading it all over again made my day, it is still touching today as it was 41 years ago

Posted by: Vicki | Jun 2, 2008 12:02:32 PM

What a great way to commemorate this day. I think I will also make it my personal way of celebrating Yom Yerushalayim.

Thank you.

Posted by: Baila | Jun 2, 2008 1:42:44 PM

I went to Isracast's site and clicked on the link but it didn't work. I guess their servers are overloaded today, and with good reason.

Posted by: Rahel | Jun 2, 2008 6:28:29 PM

thank you for sharing this. it brings tears and chills every time i hear it. Repetition makes it's impact stronger. I wish I could be there today.

Posted by: Hadassah | Jun 2, 2008 8:04:08 PM

I listened to it several times last week.

It never fails.

Har habeit b'yadeinu.

Those words resonate.

Posted by: The Back of the Hill | Jun 3, 2008 2:23:50 AM

My friend Irwin celebrated his Bar Mitzvah - Parashat Naso - on June 10, 1967. The elders of his congregation in Montréal were weeping openly...for joy at the fulfillment of this 1900-year-old dream.

Thank you for this annual post, a beautiful tradition. It touches my heart every year.

Posted by: Elisson | Jun 3, 2008 4:46:31 AM

shalom - habe dies gerade gelesen & auch angehört - da ich gerade iwrit lerne, hätte ich gerne den Text auch in iwrit, nicht nur in der Lautschrift - vielleicht kannst du mir helfen - ist der irgendwo im internet zu finden?
(- "Baruch ata Hashem" etc. verstehe ich mittlerweile schon mit den ca. 2- bis 3- hundert hebr. Worten, die ich bis jetzt gelernt habe)
- ich möchte das noch x-mal anhören mit dem hebräischen Text vor mir, bis ich alles verstehe auch ohne mitlesen zu müssen...

Posted by: Heimo | Jun 6, 2008 2:09:19 AM

sorry - I just recognized, that I wrote my entry above in German, while this is an English written blog - I came here by an link from blog "letters from rungholt" (an English title, but the contents are German written) & so this blog has an German title "Treppenwitz" but with English contents - so I didn't got quite aware in which language grounds I was, while writing my above comment. -
What I was asking for there was, whether the text of this post which I have of coursed listened too - is also available (somewhere) in ivrit letters - because I study Hebrew since last year - (very beginner really with only 2 or 3 hundred words of language experience)

Posted by: Heimo | Jun 8, 2008 3:54:55 AM

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