By Tamar Tecktiel
The Siege of Leningrad 1941-1944, The Somme 1916, Stalingrad 1942-1943, Operation Barbarossa 1941, and the Battle on Givat Hatachmoshet in 1967. The aforementioned battles are some of the most brutal and deadly battles of human history. The battle that took place on Givat Hatachmoshet in the Six Day War is lesser known. On our tour, we learned that while most people outside of Israel may not know about this specific battle, the entire nature of the modern state of Israel would be drastically altered if the outcome of this battle was different. It was here that the soldiers of the young country fought the Jordanians in the middle of the night with the hopes of the entire Jewish people on their shoulders. It was incredibly difficult to see, the Jordanians had the high ground, they knew the area, the 18, 19, 20-year-old Israeli soldiers were walking into an essentially impossible battle. Like many other times in its history, Israel was able to accomplish the seemingly impossible. It was this battle that enabled the paratroopers to reclaim the rest of eastern Jerusalem. Sitting on the same hill where the battle was fought, listening to the story of soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, I understood that had it not been for the soldier’s devotion to the country, we would not have been able to reunify Jerusalem. I was very fortunate to have been born into a time in the history of a unified Jerusalem. I never experienced the two-thousand years of longing to enter the Old City. I took for granted being able to touch the stones of the Kotel whenever I pleased. It was not until that tour that I realized that if it were not for this battle I would not only not be able to go to the Old City, I would not be able to live in my current apartment. What used to be just another stop on the light rail on my way home became such an integral part in my understanding of this history of the modern state of Israel.