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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 19, 2017 PAGE 15A From page IA ish communities and other locations in the Cleveland, Detroit, San Francisco, Chi- cago, Atlanta, Boston and Bal- timore areas. They will also recount some of the sacrifices that were made in the battle for Jerusalem. This week all three spoke to JTA at Tel Aviv University in a spirited four-way conversa- tion arranged by Friends of the IDF. On June 5, 1967, the 55th Paratroopers Brigade was deployed to Jerusalem by bus. The official mission was to protect supply convoys headed to Mount Scopus, the only enclave in eastern Jerusalem that Israel had managed to hold on to in the 1948 War of Independence, But there was talk in the High Command and among soldiers about tak- ing the Old City in Jordanian- controlled eastern Jerusalem. As they approached the divided city, Yifat recalled being surprised by how loud were the sounds of Jordanian shells hitting Jewish neigh- borhoods. He, Karasenti and Oshri were reservists in their early 20s and had never seen serious combat. Soon after they arrived, Jews came into the streets to greet them, of- fering coffee and sandwiches and welcoming them into their homes. Some of the paratroopers accepted offers to make phone calls to wives, girlfriends and parents back home. "It was amazing to see how everyone embraced us," Karasenti told JTA. "All the sectors of Israeli society came together, it didn't matter if you were Ashkenazi, Sephardi, re- ligious, haredi, a kibbutznik, whatever." Following some hurried planning, the paratroopers crossed into no-man's land after midnight. Dozens were wounded by Jordanian fire before they even entered eastern Jerusalem. Through the night and the next day, the paratroopers fought their way toward Mount Scopus, the only Jewish enclave in eastern Jerusalem, and to the outskirts of the Old City. The 66th division--to which Karasenti, Yifat and Oshri were assignedifaced the hardest fighting, hand- to-hand combat against elite Jordanian troops in the trenches at Ammunition Hill, which overlooked the road to Mount Scopus. Yifat nar- rowly avoided being impaled by a Jordanian bayonet--and still has a scar on his face to show for it. "It was like a hell. The trenches were filled with bodies, and you couldn't tell if theywere friends or enemies," Yifat said. "At one point, I jumped on an Arab and shot him dead. As I was reloading my magazine, another Arab attacked me with a bayonet, and got me right here. I kicked him between the legs and shot him dead, too." Nearly 100 of the para- troopers were killed and 400 wounded before they paused for the night. The next morning, June 7, the paratroopers found that most of the Jordanian troops had retreated from Jerusalem. Israel's Cabinet, long divided about whether to capture the Old City, finally gave the go-ahead. Motta Gur, the paratroopers' famed com- mander, delivered the news over the radio, saying: ,'Fifty- fifth paratroopers brigade, we are sitting on the ride overlooking the Old City, and we shall soon enter it--the Old City of Jerusalem, which generations have dreamed of and longed for. We will be the first to enter." The paratroopers rushed forward amid sniper fire from remaining Jordanian soldiers and rammed their way through the Lions' Gate of the Old City. From there they made their way through narrow stone alleys and up to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. "The Temple Mount is in our hands," Gur reported. Religious and secular para- troopers alike were awed by their return to the heart of the ancient Jewish homeland. "I didn't realize where I was until I saw the Israeli flag flying above the stones, said Karasenti, an observant < Jew. "I started to cry. Ev- eryone was emotional The whole nation of Israel was in ecstasy, euphoria. You can't even imagine what it was like." While Yifat, Karasenti and Chaim Oshri were walking along the wail, Rubinger, who died in March at 92, lay on the ground and snapped the photo that would make them and him famous. Within days, the image had appeared in newspapers around the world. After the war, Oshri became a chemist whose research was key in dairy production. In 1996 he worked for the minister of religious affairs. Karasenti, a director and cho- reographer, went on to a found a dance troupe and performed all over Israel. Yifat earned his medical degree from the Technion in Haifa in 1974 and specialized in gynecology. Soon after the war--which saw Israel capture the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Si- nai the survivors ofthe 66th division returned to Ammuni- tion Hill, where they stacked stones into a memorial for the paratroopers who died there. Atop of the pile, they placed a David Rubinger-GPO From left, Israeli paratroopers Tzion Karasenti, Yitzhak Yifat and Chaim Oshri standing at the Western Wall after Israel captured the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, June 7,1967. helmet. On the other side of the hill, they erected a smaller memorial for the Jordanian soldiers. "We thought they fought very bravely, and many of them died,"Yifat said. "Some- body has since removed that memorial. I'm very angry about it" While Yifat has publicly expressed some ambivalence about Israel's rule over Pal- estinians who live in the ter- ritories it took in 1967, he said he had no doubt that Israel must retain all of Jerusalem. "We fought and lost so many friends to unite Jeru- salem for the Jewish world," he said. "There's no going backwards." From page 2A how Israel values American Jews, she makes clear that she doesn't believe American Jews should have a say in how the Israeli governmentworks. "We definitely need to work together with American Jewry, with cooperation and a lot of mutual respect," she told JTA. But she added that "the fate of Israel will be decided by the residents of the State of Israel, and I expect that also American Jewry will respect the final decision of the people and the citizens of the State of Israel." Shaked has been just as crusading within her minis- try as she is on maintaining control of the West Bank, trying to push Israel's courts in a more conservative and less activist direction. Her legislative attempt last year to change the way Supreme Court justices are selected fell flat, but Shaked still managed to appoint four conservative justices to the 15-member court last week. They will remain until the mandatory retirement age of 70. Overall, Shaked has ap- pointed 200 of the country's 750 judges, with something of an eye toward diversity. She named Israel's first two judges of Ethiopian descent, as well as the first female judge on the country's Islamic religious courts. Like many young politi- cians under the spotlight, Shaked is restrained in talk- ing about her political future. She is more focused on using the power she has now to push Israel to the right--in the courts and in the land. "I am taking the system in a more conservative direction," she saidofthecourts."I'mveryhappy with my office politically--two to three years ahead, it's hard to say. I hope this government completes its term. I th'mk this is a good government." From page 7A illuminating the path. Nir [Nitzan] once told me', ,Try to imagine how symbolic it was that after your father was fatally shot, he was still showing us the way.'" Shortly after, the IDF-- with 36 casualties--took Ammunition Hill, and the rest is history. This battle allowed for the liberation of the Old City and the reunification of a Jewish Jerusalem for the first time in over 2,000 years. "I couldn't be more proud of my father," Alon said with pride. "At age 32, he could have stayed back and remained safe, but because of his commitment to his friends, the army, and his country, he joined the battle. There are many stories of heroism from Ammunition Hill, like his, and they are what led me to become in- volved with the site. We need to ensure that future gen- erations know about these heroes who fought for Israel's survival and for Jerusalem." Although Alon felt the absence of his father during childhood, in many ways he was surrounded by many surrogate fathers--Rami Wald's comrades-in-arms. "I remember them telling me, 'You are part of our family now and you will never be alone,'" Alon said. "They were always there for me, and they instilled in me the values that they and my dad held dear." It is because of those values that A|on became a major and commanding officer of an elite IDF paratroopers unit; established the Maglan Unit, a special forces group that operates deep in enemy territory; was recruited by Israel's Secret Service; over- saw the security personnel of Israel's embassy in Cairo and later in Vienna; and was an air marshal for ELALAirlines. "I felt that my father was with me all the time, pushing and supporting me," Alon said. When he speaks to young visitors at Ammunition Hill, it is about these same values. "When Shorashim-Taglit Birthright and Hillel groups visit, I want them to leave inspired by human values-- values everyone can relate to," he said. "JNF has been integral in Ammunition Hill's preservation and renova- tions. They have helped me tell this story by building the new Norman and Jean Gould Commemoration Hall for visitors." To mark the 50th an- niversary of Jerusalem's reunification, and to honor his father, Alon launched the JerusaLens Jerusalem Photo Challenge. The con- test--sponsored by JNF as well as municipal and gov- ernmental ministries--was open to people around the world to submit their unique pictures of Jerusalem, with the 100 best to be exhibited at Ammunition Hill for pub- lic viewing. The contest was the largest photo contest in the world, with more than 2 million people participating. "Not surprisingly, Israel has many commemoration sites and many stories of heroism," said Alon. "So why does JNF support Ammunition Hill so significantly? It's because Jewish National Fund is a visionary organization and its donors, like Larry Russ from California and Bruce Gould from Florida alongwith many others, understand that what we do at Ammunition Hill is for the Jewish people every- where. JNF donors enable us to share our story with the next generation in a way that is modern and relevant." Nine years ago, together with Ammunition Hill, Jew- ish National Fund built the Wall of Honor as a way to pay tribute and respect to Jewish combatants who fought in any war, and in any country. The wall is a testament that shows that Jews, no matter where they live, are loyal and ready to fight for the nations they live in. Said Alon: "Loyalty and bravery, like the names of those on the Wall of Honor, are values that were impor- tant to my father and ones that are equally important for me to pass on to the next generation." For more information, or to plan a trip to Ammunition Hill, please visit or email From page 16A of at least two resolutions by UNESCO, the cultural body of the United Nations, that ignored Judaism's attachment to Jerusalem. Unusually, the country's chief rabbi, Haim Korsia, issued a written con- demnation of the votes. CRIF condemned France's failed bid earlier this year to stage a Middle East peace conference in Paris without Israel's support. Hollande said France was organizing the conference out of a commit- ment to peace and as a"friend of Israel," but CRIF President Francis Kalifat clearly had his doubts. "Some pretend to be Israel's friend, but there is no such thing as friendship: There are proofs of friendship," Ka- lifat said at a protest rally in January against the summit in front of Israel's embassy in Paris. Israel's refusal to attend the conference ultimately led the Palestinians to pull out. CRIF called the ensuing summit a "grotesque" event in light of international inaction on the wholesale slaughter of civilians in Syria. French Jewry's mainstream also objected to France's lead- ing role within the European Union in singling out Israeli West Bank settlements and their products, and to Social- ist Party lawmakers who sup- ported a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. During the town hall meet- ing, Macron said that like Hollande, he would recognize a Palestinian state only after a negotiated settlement agreed upon by Israel and the Pales- tinians. Then there are fears that Macron's tolerance-driven agenda is too accommodating to Muslim fundamentalists. Many French Jews perceive Islamism as the main threat facing their communities following a string of deadly jihadist attacks on Jewish and non-Jewish targets. In Macron's official plat- form, he speaks of "fighting with determination against all radical streams that distort the values" of Islam. But whereas Le Pen and the right-of-center Fillon proposed concrete puni- tive steps, including revoking the French nationality of radicals and deporting them, Macron has remained vague, proposing to conduct the fight by "helping French Muslims to achieve the [restructuring] of their institutions." Sensing he was losing the audience's affection, Macron told the CRIF crowd, "Hang on, I can return to the UNESCO vote, which is a dif- ferent matter." He added: "It's a mistake and I condemn it." But Macron also insisted that the UNESCO vote was a tech- nical glitch, provoking more dismissive boos and laughter from dozens of listeners and an intervention by Kalifat. "Yes, but there were two votes, Mr. Macron," Kalifat said. "They were definitely not unintentional." Macron also infuriated prominent members of the French Jewish community when he visited a Holocaust monument during the last stretch of the campaign. Although the visit was meant to draw a contrast with the Holocaust denial roots of Le Pen's party, the prominent French-Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut said Ma- cron's actions turned the genocide into a "campaign argument." Regardless of their differ- ences, Macron is nonethe- less someone French Jews can respect, according to Philippe Karsenty, a French Jewish politician and pro- Israel activist who supported Fillon in the first round but switched to Macron against Le Pen. "I disagree with him on many issue--Israel, his vision of French history," Karsenty told JTA. "I think he's too nai've, like former U.S. Presi- dent Barack Obama or Cana- dian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But his background is in banking, in business. He's accomplished. And he understands the power of compromise."