27 Jul A flag and a vow never to leave this place again
Jerusalem. It’s more than just a place. It is the capital of the Jewish people from the days of David, King of Judah, and the home of the Jews’ Holy Temple from the days of King Solomon. It is a holy city to many millions from around the world, including many evangelical Friends of Zion who pray for the peace of Jerusalem the year round.
Now, as we celebrate 50 years since the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967, during the famous Six-Day War in which Israel courageously defended itself against overwhelming odds to hold off surrounding Arab armies, we recount here the emotional story of Capt. Yoram Zamosh a company commander in Israeli paratroop battalion 71.
Zamosh was among the first soldiers to reach the Western Wall, the retaining wall built by King Herod that is the last historical remnant of the Holy Temple adjoining the Temple Mount in the Old City. From the very moment Zamosh and his troops entered the Old City’s Lion’s Gate on the morning of June 7, 1967, their driving goal, despite the ongoing gunfire, was to reach the Western Wall. Just before the battle for the Old City, Zamosh had been given an Israeli flag by an elderly woman and promised to hang it on the Western Wall.
Zamosh relates: “When we had pinned the flag of Israel to the grillwork above the Wall, our little group stood and sang the national anthem. Zamosh’s deputy brigade commander, Moshe Stempel-Peles, could not speak at that moment. His voice was choked by tears.
Zamosh recalls Stempel-Peles telling him, “If my grandfather, if my great-grandfather, if any of my family who have been murdered in pogroms and in the death camps . . . if they could know, somehow, even for one second, that I, their grandson, would be standing here at this hour, in this place, wearing the red boots of an Israeli paratrooper . . . if they could know this, Zamosh, for just one instant, they would suffer death a thousand times and count it as nothing….”We shall never, never leave this place,” he said. “Never will we give this up. Never.”
Never will we give this up. This is the vow of Jews everywhere on this Jerusalem Day, But not only of the Jews. It is also the vow of the many non-Jewish lovers of Zion. The stories of some of these devoted Christians who did so much in their lifetimes for the return of the people of Israel to Jerusalem and the Land of Israel can be found today in the dramatic, dynamic Friends of Zion Museum in downtown Jerusalem.