Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Remembering the Lamed Heh -- 35 who fought to save Gush Etzion

Today (5th Shevat) marks 62 years since the tragedy of the "Lamed Hey," -- when 35 Haganah soldiers were killed attempting to resupply and reinforce the besieged kibbutzim in Gush Etzion in 1948.
"...The fate of the remaining 35 was reconstructed from British and Arab reports. The six hours of night did not suffice. About an hour before their destination it became light. They were detected by an Arab shepherd or women not far from Tzurif. They did not harm the Arab civilians, who hurried to sound the alarm, and a large group of armed Arabs gathered to block their way. The battle lasted the entire day. The last defender was apparently killed at about 4:30 PM. The British in the nearby police station did not interfere until the battle was over. The Arab attackers mutilated the bodies of the defenders according to British soldiers who witnessed the aftermath of the attack. A soldier who took pictures of mutilated bodies left his roll of film to be developed in Jerusalem and never came back for it. Several decades later the negatives were discovered, but it was decided not to publish the atrocities. (A personal account - Fallen Heroes of Gush Etzion)" (source)
Following are video excerpts from 3 personal testimonies about this tragedy, recorded by Toldot Yisrael, an organization dedicated to preserving Israel's heritage from 1948

- Refael Ben Aroyah, Commander of Hartuv, where the 35 set out from.
- Yitzhak Navon, Commander of Arab Division of Haganah Intelligence, later Fifth President of Israel
- Miriam Ben Peretz, wife of one of Lamed hey, later Professor Emeritus of Educational University of Haifa and Israel Prize laureate in Educational Research

The actual video starts 30 seconds into the clip (its blank for the first 30 seconds).

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Commenter Abbi said...

Whew hoo, nice TY mention!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Abbi: What are friends for? :-)

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