Day 7 – July 9, 2022
After a hearty Shabbat breakfast we were divided into groups for optional tours of Jerusalem. Some toured the Christian Quarter. We had the privilege of the excellent JNF education Shliach Yigal sharing his a journey through Yemin Moshe and the German colony, the neighbourhood where Yigal grew up.
Along the way, we passed historic sites such as the King David Hotel where Yigal explained the Zionist history. The Irgun bombed the King David Hotel which housed the headquarters of the British occupation. This was considered pivotal in convincing the British to leave Israel. We learned how to say ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ in Hebrew.
Anywhere you go in Israel there are tragic reminders of the price the Jewish State pays for its freedom. We passed the sites of a suicide bus bombing as well as the site of the Café Hillel bombing where Yigal shared personal stories.
At the end of the tour, Yigal surprised us by taking us to his sisters house where we were privileged to experience a Jerusalem Kiddush, full of beautiful home made delicacies.
Yigal shared a beautiful story of “Hashgacha Pratit,” when something happens beyond coincidence, “Divine providence.” Yigal’s address growing up was Smuts Street, Jerusalem, his wife grew up in Smuts street, Tel Aviv and the name of the people who own his home in Sydney are also Smuts!
After lunch, we heard a lecture on antisemitism from Professor from Ariel University. He discussed the disturbing phenomenon of antisemitism and how it has increased dramatically across the world in recent times. He also shared the unique challenges faced by Ariel University, which is boycotted by the European Union and others.
In the evening we visited Ammunition Hill, site of a critical battle during the liberation of Jerusalem in the 6 Day War. After a short video presentation, we were privileged to hear from Alon Wald, who is the son of one of the paratroopers who fell at Ammunition Hill. One of the most poignant takeaways was the fact that the fighters who liberated Jerusalem were reservists who were husbands, fathers and sons. They were civilians who were carpenters, shopkeepers, lawyers and chefs. When war came, they answered the call to defend their families.
Alon guided us through the trenches where the battle took place. On the hill, it became clear how important this site is as a vantage point overlooking Israel.
A recent addition to the site is a collection of 547 plaques honouring Jewish soldiers worldwide who served their respective countries.
Our visit concluded in the Memorial Hall honouring the 182 sons of Israel who died in the battle for Jerusalem. The personal story from our guide left a few teary eyes.
We left feeling very grateful to the brave defenders of Israel who liberated Jerusalem on behalf of all Jews worldwide.
We can walk and pray safely in a united Jerusalem thanks to them. The contribution of JNF and particularly Harry Triguboff was prominently noted at the site.
Isabelle (Trinity Grammar School), Linda (Moriah ELC QPC)