Jews have climbed on Mount Hebron four times. The cradle of the Hebrew Nation, between Jerusalem and Hebron: homeland, kings, prophets and heroes. A high and raised, rocky and arid, stormy and snowy, hostile and magical mountain greeted awaited them. Migdal Eder – 1927; Kfar Etzion – 1935; Gush Etzion – 1943-1947. A life of travail and creation, Torah and labour was embroidered amid the mountain’s rocks. In the War of Independence in 1948 heavy siege was laid to Gush Etzion. The blood of the warriors, rushing to aid, flew down the mountain trails. The people of the mountain displayed devotion and faith, resolution and valour. Large enemy forces were put into the battle. Against stood a handful of settlers, reinforced by the Hish (“field force”) and Palmach. The warriors of Gush Etzion blocked the road to Jerusalem, for which they gave their lives, with their own bodies, on the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel, between the 3rd-5th of the month of Iyar, 1948. Eventually Kfar Etzion was subdued and its defenders fell in the battle. According to the instructions of the national command of the Haganah, the rest of the defenders surrendered and were taken captive. 240 fighters died while defending Gush Etzion. The defenders of Gush Etzion saved Jerusalem. “Four positions at the heart of enemy territory prevented them from approaching the city gates. Many, too many for us fell there. If there exists a Jewish Jerusalem, than the foremost thanks of Israeli history and the entire People go to the defenders of Gush Etzion” (David Ben-Gurion, 1949). The bloc remained in its ruins for 19 years, until it was liberated in the Six Day War, and in September 1967 its sons finally returned home.
What’s at the site: the “Mountain People”, an audiovisual show, edited and presented in an experiential and moving way, including a visit and communion with the last defenders on the ruins of the original bunker of 1948; an exhibition and convention hall containing documents, photos, films and personal exhibits from the estate of the fallen defenders. The hall is used for instruction, seminars, lectures and conventions; educational tours in the footsteps of settlers and defenders; “Beit Ha’Edut” (“House of Testimony”) museum and a historic archive; a panoramic view of the area from the building’s roof.
For the general public: optional personal meeting and conversation with one of the veterans of Kfar Etzion.