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February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
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Jerusalem’s Defenders


The day after the fall of Kfar Etzion, the other kibbutzim of Gush Etzion also surrendered.

The Haganah radio station, Kol HaMagen HaIvri, reported. “Today at 1:00 a.m., the enemy took Kfar Etzion by storm. The defenders fought a courageous hand-to-hand struggle until they were overwhelmed.”

The defenders of Gush Etzion selflessly took all risks to ensure that Jerusalem would remain in Jewish hands. For the next nineteen years, the Jewish section of Jerusalem thrived while the Gush Eztion region was abandoned and desolate. A Jordanian army camp was built on the ruins of Kfar Etzion.

As the Arab attack on Gush Etzion helped save Jerusalem in 1948, the Jordanian attack on Jerusalem in 1967 helped lead to the city’s liberation. Despite pleas from Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol not to attack Israel, Jordan’s King Hussein began shelling West Jerusalem on the first day of the war, forcing Israel to fight on another front.

Two days later, on June 7, as victorious Israeli soldiers stood in awe at the Western Wall, the hills of Gush Etzion were also liberated, giving the people of Israel additional reason to rejoice that day.

The sons and daughters of those who had sacrificed all on behalf of Gush Etzion, Jerusalem, and the newly created State of Israel during those fateful days approached Prime Minister Eshkol, who gave his consent to rebuild Kfar Etzion. Just months later, the first families returned to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and officially reestablish the kibbutz.

The sacrifices of Kfar Etzion’s builders resonate today, as thousands live their dreams building their lives on the area’s majestic hills that overlook the splendid city of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.

 

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