Jerusalem Day: Remembering the Battle of Ammunition

To commemorate the 42 years of the unification of Jerusalem, a national assembly was held at the Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem

Date: 29/05/2009, 11:08 AM     Author: Rani Sneh

On Thursday evening (May 21), a national assembly was held at the Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, commemorating 42 years of the unification of Jerusalem and in memory of the fallen soldiers during the Battle of Ammunition Hill. Amongst the attendees in the ceremony were Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Knesset Chairman Ruben Rivlin, President of the Supreme Court of Israel Dorit Beincish, Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, Head Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger, Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, as well as, ministers, members of the Knesset, senior officers and bereaved families.

“Israel never had a different capital, and Jerusalem was never a capital to another nation,” said President Shimon Peres during the assembly, “Battles were fought over Jerusalem, more than any other city in the world. The Battle of Ammunition Hill was one of the toughest battles known to Israel. The battle over Jerusalem was equally historical and professional.” President Shimon Peres paid tribute to the fallen soldiers and said, “Each fighter made an outstanding effort for us to be on top, and those who lead fell first. The fallen men saved our most precious asset – Jerusalem. The nation mourns the loss of all the fallen men who lost their lives during this terrible battle. I salute their courage, and also their parents who brought the nation these men.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had returned from his visit in Washington specially to take part in the ceremony. He spoke to the fighters who freed Jerusalem and noted: “Thanks to your courage, you were able to open the “choking tie”, connecting divided parts of the city together, you allowed Jerusalem to return and evolve as a vibrant city.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke about his memories from the day Jerusalem was freed, and the words of Lt. Gen. (Res.) Mordechai “Motta” Gur, who was commander of the Paratroopers Brigade: ‘Temple Mount is in our hands.’ “We were so excited, and I think this shook the hearts of Jews around the world.”

Col. (Res.) Shimon Kahaner, who commanded Battalion 28 during the Six-Day War, has been active in the development and in educational activities of Ammunition Hill for 17 years. He spoke to the attendees about how over 150 thousand visitors arrive to the Ammunition Hill each year, and hear stories about the battle and the legacy bestowed on it. “We hosted on the battle field in Jerusalem, 12 years ago, Jordanian officers of the Jordan Army who we fought against during the Six-Day War,” said Col. (Res.) Kahaner, and quoted what the officers told him: “We fight like lions, but you fought with such spirit that it was impossible to stop you. You left us no option but to back down.” The Col. mentioned the 182 fallen soldiers over the Battle of Ammunition Hill, and noted that: “During every operation, we bring up the memory of the fallen soldiers in dedication and devotion. I am grateful for the great privilege that was given to me today.”