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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Yom Yerushalayim tradition

[This is the sixth year I'm posting this.  Sorry, but I can't improve on the original.  Go ahead... close your office door, turn out the lights, turn up the speakers and try not to cry... I dare you!]

It's Yom Yerushalayim today... the anniversary of Jerusalem being reunified during the Six Day War.

Every year on this day, no matter where I am in the world, I find a way to listen to the recording of the radio broadcast of the recapture of the old city by Col. 'Motta' Gur's Paratroop forces. 

Yossi Ronen was the news broadcaster reporting the event.  Rav Shlomo Goren, who was the Chief Rabbi of the IDF at the time (and also held the rank of General, having served as a soldier in the Haganah - Israel's pre-state army), joined the Paratroopers at the Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall) and led them in prayer.  Colonel 'Motta' Gur was the Military commander of the forces that recaptured the old city.

This a pretty fair translation that was done by IsraCast*.  I strongly recommend that those who understand Hebrew go to their site and click the player (about a third of the way down the page in the middle) and listen to the recording.  It might help to read along with the translation as the sound quality is sketchy.

[update:  It seems they have edited and cut down the original recording drastically.  If anyone has a link to the full recording please post it here. In the mean time, you can read the transcription below.]

[Update to the Update:  Thanks to Tzip for finding a YouTube clip with most of the recording on it]

[And yet another source from 'Jewish Ideas Daily']

To properly appreciate this you need to imagine being somewhere in Israel at the time, listening to this broadcast over your radio at home (likely in a bomb shelter)... or wherever your reserve unit was stationed at that moment.  Go get the tissues before you start listening!

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!] *

We should never forget or take for granted the sacrifices that were made so that we could have our city back under Jewish Control after 2000 years!  It makes me sad to think about how many people would re-divide Jerusalem again in a second on the off chance that it might buy us a few weeks of a shaky 'truce'.

How soon they forget.

Posted by David Bogner on May 12, 2010 | Permalink


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Thank you for sharing that again!
I honestly don't know what we are doing here... We should be in Israel.

Posted by: Nir in London | May 12, 2010 12:59:31 PM

Yesterday I was looking for that audio clip and I was so disappointed that they edited it. I searched extensively and did not find the original clip, but I found this clip on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l17p0fTNvf0) that has most of it.

Posted by: tzip | May 12, 2010 1:58:58 PM

This video has an edited version of the paratroopers entering the Old City but has some additional material too. Worth watching today!

Posted by: Jewish Ideas Daily | May 12, 2010 2:54:27 PM

i knew i can count on you for posting- Thanks!!

Posted by: roberti | May 12, 2010 4:07:45 PM

Yup, never fails to bring me to tears. Thanks, as always, for posting. Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!

Posted by: SaraK | May 12, 2010 4:59:21 PM

Okay... Baby steps, baby steps... This year IS better, because thanks to ulpan (Hebrew language classes), I can finally decipher the words! (Thanks for letting me share that.)

Posted by: rutimizrachi | May 12, 2010 6:59:09 PM

It's a bummer they took down the full recording...I've been searching for days. Between the 3 links you can get most of it...

Posted by: Jon | May 12, 2010 8:11:30 PM

Thanks for sharing that.

I played the clips for my fourth-graders today. Even the truncated versions made the whole thing real to them better than their history books ever could.

Posted by: psachya | May 12, 2010 9:58:55 PM

That never gets old.

Posted by: Jack | May 12, 2010 10:04:56 PM

I'm a Gentile, a Christian, and every time I read that transcript of the broadcast it makes *me* want to cry, too - for sheer joy, that you got your Holy Place back, after so long. May it remain in your hands forever. I only wish that awful mosque squatting on top of it was gone, gone, gone!

May the Holy One place a wall of fire round about Jerusalem, and may He be the glory in your midst.

Posted by: Sylvia | May 30, 2010 10:40:49 AM

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