Page 3 - Hamizrachi #30 USA 2021 Yom Yerushalayim - Shavuot
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                                                                                             TORAT MIZRACHI

                                                                                        Rabbi Doron Perez

       Jerusalem’s D-Day

       When the Hand of Heaven Changed the Course of Human History

                here is no rational way to   cities across Israel, including heavy   Brigade 55, together with the Harel
                explain  the    remarkable  bombardment of Jewish West Jerusalem.   and Jerusalem brigades, had almost
                circumstances that led to the   Not wanting to engage in war with   surrounded the Old City.
                liberation of the Old City of   Jordan,  Israel  repeatedly  implored  the   Moshe Dayan, the Defense Minister
      TJerusalem in 1967. It was one        Jordanians to cease fire and promised   in the Unity Government, had ordered
       of the most unexpected and inexplicable   they would not react. Once all diplomatic   them  not to capture  the Old  City, for
       phenomena in the history of human    attempts failed, Israel had no choice but   two reasons. Firstly, the intention of this
       warfare.                             to defend itself and enter the unplanned   defensive war was never to conquer the
        To begin with, there was no battle   fray in Jerusalem. Israel would have to   Old City of Jerusalem and its holy sites,
       plan for Jerusalem whatsoever. Israeli   defend their “Auschwitz Borders” all at   sacred  to  many  religions. Secondly,  he
       intelligence  never  expected  the   once.                                 was aware of the large Jordanian military
       impending confrontation to include     Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, a member of the   presence in the Old City, especially on
       Jordan, which had been in control of the   paratrooper reserve Brigade 55 under   the Temple Mount, with huge amounts
       Old City since 1948.                 the command of Motta Gur, recalls the   of artillery and ammunition. Having seen
        Egypt was the issue. In contravention   surprising  change  in  plan.  On  the  first   the  devastating  losses  on  that  one  day,
       of international law, Egypt had closed   day of the war, he and his fellow soldiers   Dayan anticipated much greater losses in
       the  Straits  of  Tiran  and  sent  100,000   were en route to El Arish in Sinai when   hand-to-hand street combat, especially in
       troops  and  thousands  of  tanks  into  the   they received an urgent command to   defence of the holy sites. This would be
       demilitarized Sinai Peninsula, a clear act   redirect to Jerusalem. Since it was so   a battle Israel would not fight… or so he
       of aggression and war intent. Along with   spontaneous, the IDF had only a few   thought.
       that mounting threat from the south,   hours to familiarize themselves with the   What he didn’t realize was that “Divine
       tensions were also building on the Syrian   routes and topography in and around the   destiny was knocking at the door.”  The
       border in the north. Likely battles on two   capital.                      drama of Jewish destiny was about to
       fronts perhaps, but certainly not on the   With only partial intelligence, a dire   unfold.
       long mountain range border with Jordan   lack of East Jerusalem maps, and in   That same evening, two utterly
       in the east.                         complete darkness, the troops charged   unexpected and unpredictable things
        President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt   into battle at 2.00 am early Tuesday   occurred.
       had  other  plans. Unbeknown  to  the   morning on the second day of the war. It   The first, in a remarkable display
       Israelis, Jordan had signed an agreement   was then the paratroopers engaged in   of unity, left-wing Yigal Alon and
       with Egypt, placing the Jordanian Army   the fierce battles on Ammunition Hill,   Menachem Begin from the right came
       under the direct command of Nasser’s   the American Colony and Wadi Joz, and   together to Prime Minster Levi Eshkol to
       Chief of Staff, General Riad. It was   suffered the worst day of losses in their   intercede on behalf of Jerusalem.
       Nasser’s plan to unleash a triple-pronged   unit’s history.                  Now was the time to liberate the Holy
       attack – from Egypt, Jordan and Syria,   Rabbi Bin-Nun lost 100 comrades in   City.
       which he believed the young State of   these battles. In comparison, the very   Never in history had a people prayed
       Israel could not defend, and he would   same brigade fought for two weeks in the   for and yearned so much for a city.
       finally avenge the defeat of 1948.    Yom Kippur War and lost 52 soldiers, half   The  emergency  Cabinet  heavily
        On the first day of the war, during   of those lost on this one blood-drenched   debated the issue, with many concerned
       the fighting with Egypt in Sinai, the   day in the outskirts of Old Jerusalem.   that the world would not tolerate a
       Jordanian  forces  began  shelling  major   However, despite the heavy price,   Jewish conquest of Jerusalem, and that

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