Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Three Fingers to the Left of the Tree and Down

Here is a picture that the late Miri Tzachi snapped while in a helicopter over Jerusalem's Old City:


You will notice at the bottom right-hand corner that I have added an arrow pointing to a tree just inside the Temple Mount wall and inbetween the wall and the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Why?

As I have posted before, during the 11 month period of September 1966 and August 1967, I studied at the Machon L'Madrichei Chutz La'Aretz program as a member of Betar. Guided by my own educational instructors, especially the late Nissan Teman (Chaim Fischgrund is to my right),


I quickly made contact with Emmanuel Hanegbi, Tzachi's father, and Dr. Israel Eldad. I began attending the once-weekly lecture series conducted by the Chugim Leumim at the basement of Ezra Yachin's Art Gallery at the corner of King David and Hess Streets. Topics were Uri Tzvi Greenberg Poetry, History of the Undergrounds, Zionist Thought and such. Shabbat services were at the Students' Minyan on Balfour Street. And then on to the Saturday night Melaveh Malka gatherings on Mount Zion.

Do not forget that at this time, all the stretch leading from the east edge of the Sultan Pool (where the traffic light is) up to the Jaffa Gate was No-Man's Land, blocked off with barbed-wire and tank barriers. 

While then Mt. Zion complex was in Israeli control, it was virtually an outpost. But it was a replacement for the lost holy sites inside the walled Old City and it was where David's Tomb was presumed to be.



After some food and drinks, a discussion and singing, we would ascend the minneret over the courtyard

and look out into the Old City.

The Temple Mount was clear and it was large, all lit up and couldn't be missed - but we were seeking out the Western Wall.

I was told my first time up at the top, "see that tree? raise up three fingers to the left and the Kotel is just down, out of sight".

And then the few who were up at the top starting shouting out at the top of their lungs:

"We are returning. We will be back!"

It was a bit electrifying. Nearly midnight and Jerusalem then in 1966 was an empty city at that time of night and our voices carried over and reverberated and echoed.

And we returned.


Here I am at the Kotel, day after Shavuot, 1967.

^

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