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Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Yom Yerushalayim tradition

It's Yom Yerushalayim... the anniversary of Jerusalem being reunified during the Six Day War.

Every year on this day, no matter where I am, I listen to the recording of the radio broadcast of the recapture of the old city by Motti Gur's Paratroop forces.  Yossi Ronen was the news broadcaster reporting the event.  Rav Shlomo Goren, who was the Chief Rabbi of the IDF at the time (and also held the rank of General, having served as a soldier in the Haganah - Israel's pre-state army), joined the Paratroopers at the Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall) and led them in prayer.  Colonel Motti Gur was the Military commander of the forces that recaptured the old city.

This a wonderful translation that was done by IsraCast*.  I strongly recommend that those who understand Hebrew go to their site and click the yellow link in the upper left hand corner and listen to the recording.  It might help to read along with the translation as the sound quality is sketchy.

To properly appreciate this you need to imagine being somewhere in Israel at the time listening to this broadcast over your radio at home... or wherever your reserve unit was stationed at that moment.  Go get the tissues before you start listening!

Colonel Motta Gur [on loudspeaker]: All company commanders, we’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem, that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City. Eitan’s tanks will advance on the left and will enter the Lion’s Gate. The final rendezvous will be on the open square above.
[The open square of the Temple Mount.]

[Sound of applause by the soldiers.]

Yossi Ronen: We are now walking on one of the main streets of Jerusalem towards the Old City. The head of the force is about to enter the Old City.


Yossi Ronen: There is still shooting from all directions; we’re advancing towards the entrance of the Old City.

[Sound of gunfire and soldiers’ footsteps.]

[Yelling of commands to soldiers.]

[More soldiers’ footsteps.]

The soldiers are keeping a distance of approximately 5 meters between them. It’s still dangerous to walk around here; there is still sniper shooting here and there.


We’re all told to stop; we’re advancing towards the mountainside; on our left is the Mount of Olives; we’re now in the Old City opposite the Russian church. I’m right now lowering my head; we’re running next to the mountainside. We can see the stone walls. They’re still shooting at us. The Israeli tanks are at the entrance to the Old City, and ahead we go, through the Lion’s Gate. I’m with the first unit to break through into the Old City. There is a Jordanian bus next to me, totally burnt; it is very hot here. We’re about to enter the Old City itself. We’re standing below the Lion’s Gate, the Gate is about to come crashing down, probably because of the previous shelling. Soldiers are taking cover next to the palm trees; I’m also staying close to one of the trees. We’re getting further and further into the City.


Colonel Motta Gur announces on the army wireless: The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!

All forces, stop firing! This is the David Operations Room. All forces, stop firing! I repeat, all forces, stop firing! Over.

Commander eight-nine here, is this Motta (Gur) talking? Over.

[Inaudible response on the army wireless by Motta Gur.]

Uzi Narkiss: Motta, there isn’t anybody like you. You’re next to the Mosque of Omar.

Yossi Ronen: I’m driving fast through the Lion’s Gate all the way inside the Old City.

Command on the army wireless: Search the area, destroy all pockets of resistance [but don't touch anything in the houses], especially the holy places.

[Lt.- Col. Uzi Eilam blows the Shofar.  Soldiers are singing ‘Jerusalem of Gold’.]

Uzi Narkiss: Tell me, where is the Western Wall? How do we get there?

Yossi Ronen: I’m walking right now down the steps towards the Western Wall. I’m not a religious man, I never have been, but this is the Western Wall and I’m touching the stones of the Western Wall.

Soldiers: [reciting the ‘Shehechianu’ blessing]: Baruch ata Hashem, elokeinu melech haolam, she-hechianu ve-kiemanu ve-hegianu la-zman ha-zeh. [Translation: Blessed art Thou L-rd G-d King of the Universe who has sustained us and kept us and has brought us to this day]

Rabbi Shlomo Goren: Baruch ata Hashem, menachem tsion u-voneh Yerushalayim. [Translation: Blessed are thou, who comforts Zion and bulids Jerusalem]

Soldiers: Amen!

[Soldiers sing ‘Hatikva’ next to the Western Wall.]

Rabbi Goren: We’re now going to recite the prayer for the fallen soldiers of this war against all of the enemies of Israel:

[Soldiers weeping]

El male rahamim, shohen ba-meromim. Hamtse menuha nahona al kanfei hashina, be-maalot kedoshim, giborim ve-tehorim, kezohar harakiya meirim u-mazhirim. Ve-nishmot halalei tsava hagana le-yisrael, she-naflu be-maaraha zot, neged oievei yisrael, ve-shnaflu al kedushat Hashem ha-am ve-ha’arets, ve-shichrur Beit Hamikdash, Har Habayit, Hakotel ha-ma’aravi veyerushalayim ir ha-elokim. Be-gan eden tehe menuhatam. Lahen ba’al ha-rahamim, yastirem beseter knafav le-olamim. Ve-yitsror be-tsror ha-hayim et nishmatam adoshem hu nahlatam, ve-yanuhu be-shalom al mishkavam [soldiers weeping loud]ve-ya’amdu le-goralam le-kets ha-yamim ve-nomar amen!

[Translation: Merciful G-d in heaven, may the heroes and the pure, be under thy Divine wings, among the holy and the pure who shine bright as the sky, and the souls of soldiers of the Israeli army who fell in this war against the enemies of Israel, who fell for their loyalty to G-d and the land of Israel, who fell for the liberation of the Temple, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and Jerusalem the city of the Lord. May their place of rest be in paradise. Merciful One, O keep their souls forever alive under Thy protective wings. The Lord being their heritage, may they rest in peace, for they shalt rest and stand up for their allotted portion at the end of the days, and let us say, Amen.]

[Soldiers are weeping. Rabbi Goren sounds the shofar.  Sound of gunfire in the background.]

Rabbi Goren: Le-shana HA-ZOT be-Yerushalayim ha-b’nuya, be-yerushalayim ha-atika! [Translation: This year in a rebuilt Jerusalem! In the Jerusalem of old!] *

We should never forget or take for granted the sacrifices that were made so that we could have our city back under Jewish Control after 2000 years!  It makes me sad to think about how many people would re-divide Jerusalem again in a second on the off chance that it might buy us a few weeks of a shaky 'truce'.

How soon they forget.

BTW, if you feel like taking a virtual tour of Jerusalem via full screen 360-degree panoramic photos from the comfort of wherever you're sitting... go here and click on some of the incredible views. (thanks Michelle).

* The historic radio broadcast of the liberation of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall was researched,  transcribed and translated by Yitschak Horneman / Quality Translations, Jerusalem

© 2004 IsraCast. All rights reserved.

Posted by David Bogner on May 25, 2006 | Permalink


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Tracked on May 25, 2006 7:58:40 PM


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wow- i remember when you did this post last year, and i tried to listen to the hebrew but understood nothing.

im so proud to have spent time there, and to be able to understand more. this always makes me teary eyed... and i cant wait to be back in israel again

Posted by: Lisa- the other one | May 25, 2006 8:44:40 AM

The first time I heard this was years ago on my headphones while taking the train to work one morning. Lots of commuters staring at me and the tears running down my face.

Thanks for the link (though the bandwidth will be slow for the rest of you as I share it with my entire chevrah).

Posted by: President, Kippot Srugot for Kadima | May 25, 2006 9:03:22 AM

I can afford a smile today, It's not much but atleast I could understand bits and pieces of the Historic Live Broadcast in Hebrew.

Posted by: pk | May 25, 2006 9:08:39 AM

Thanks very much for the link and the translation. You're right about the need for handkerchiefs.....

Posted by: Judy | May 25, 2006 9:40:23 AM

www.aish.com has an amazing article up about the capture of the old city. it's worth a read. it's the feature article today, called "my home, my heart, my history." enjoy!

Posted by: loyalreader | May 25, 2006 10:45:43 AM

For anyone who understands Hebrew, I highly recommend listening to the audio. The translation leaves out some sections, and in others doesn't quite capture the Hebrew essence.

But thanks for posting it again this year!

Posted by: Dave | May 25, 2006 11:47:23 AM

Though my Hebrew is still very sketchy, there was no mistaking the emotions of joy, awe, and the tears.

Jerusalem must not be divided again. Something so central to our being should not be given in the vain hope of a dubious peace.

If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem ...

The article suggested by loyalreader is one that I referenced in my post for Yom Yerushalayim. It speaks of the history, the longing and the blessing of living in Jerusalem.

Posted by: seawitch | May 25, 2006 3:18:05 PM

It was a beautiful post last year; it's beautiful this year. Thank you, David.

Posted by: Elisson | May 25, 2006 3:32:30 PM

It really is a moment that touches something very deep inside.

Posted by: Jack | May 25, 2006 4:15:16 PM

I listen to this every year and it always makes me cry. Happy Yom Yerushalayim!

Posted by: Essie | May 25, 2006 5:37:59 PM

*seconds Dave's comments*

The recording is much more complete, and (IMHO) better.

My favorite line is the nearly spontaneous "Yesh degel bakotel". And the emotion in the announcer's voice when he says, "Ani nogea beavnei hakotel hamaaravi" is just amazing.

Posted by: matlabfreak | May 26, 2006 4:39:31 AM


Mahmoud Abbas Issues Hamas an Ultimatum

Posted by: DQS | May 26, 2006 5:34:14 PM

WOW! I just listened. My Ivrit does not suck as bad as I thought it did. I was able to understand it, and the translation did help. I am now crying, how could you not? Chag Sameach (a little late)

Posted by: Faye | May 27, 2006 12:28:42 AM

I just listened to the recording. It is so very moving - the sort of thing that can evoke smiles yet also chills.

Thank you.

Posted by: Raeefa | May 27, 2006 1:19:08 AM

Lisa... I would hope you learned some Hebrew while you were here. Good for you!

President... It never fails to make me cry.

PK... Good for you! Keep up the work.

Judy... There are certain things I listen to every year. I listen to Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech and this recording without fail.

Loyalreader... Thanks for the heads up.

Dave... Any time.

Seawitch... I wish I knew why so many people have already forgotten how important the reunification was.

Elisson... Thanks.

Jack. Yup.

Thanks Essie. May it always be a holiday.

Matlabfreak... For a brief moment everyone actually 'got it'. But then the moment passed.

DQS...And this relates to the post how?

Faye... These kind of tears are both essential and healing.

Raeefa... I agree 100%

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 30, 2006 5:14:29 PM

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