Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem 390.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Yydl)
Despite promises from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to find funding for the
struggling site, the memorial and museum at Ammunition Hill are still expected
to close on Monday due to lack of funds.
Katri Maoz, the director of
Ammunition Hill, said that though both Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval
Steinitz have said they will work to find money to prevent the closure of the
site, he has yet to receive concrete financial offers.
“We owe a great
deal to our soldiers,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting
“One of the things that we owe them is to uphold their
heritage of heroism. I have spoken with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who
expressed his views on the matter.Ammunition Hill will not be
closed. We will find the budget so that it will continue to operate,” he
Maoz welcomed the statements, but said until the site received
definite solutions to their budget problem, it will close to the public at 5:00
p.m. on Monday, following a beret ceremony for
“We’re very clear, if we don’t find a solution, we’ll
close,” Maoz said.
If no solution is found, families who lost soldiers
during the Six Day War will hold a quiet ceremony where they will take down the
giant Israeli flag that flies on top of Ammunition Hill, Maoz said. It will be
the first time that the national flag has been absent since 1967. The families
will fold the flag and bring it to the Prime Minister’s Residence in protest
until funding is found for the site, he added.
Knesset speaker Reuven
Rivlin instructed Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser to find a solution to keep
Ammunition Hill open, and Hauser promised to find a budgetary
Rivlin was an intelligence officer in the Six Day War and took
part in the battle for Ammunition Hill.
“Ammunition Hill is one of the
most important symbols of our heritage in the birth of Jerusalem, and it should
not be closed to the Israeli public just because of budget problems,” he said in
a statement released by his office.
The Paratroop Brigade fought a fierce
battle there against the Jordanian Arab Legion on June 6, 1967, during the Six
Day War. The victory on the hilltop was a turning point in the army’s campaign
Since the state comptroller forbade the site from
collecting entrance fees two years ago, it has struggled
Ammunition Hill is classified as a government site, and
therefore must be open to the public free of charge.
200,000 people visit each year, including 80,000 soldiers, Maoz said. The NIS 15
tickets formerly allowed the site to maintain a museum, amphitheater, events
hall, educational center, several memorials and an interactive light show. Maoz
said it needs NIS 2 million a year to operate, but the Defense Ministry only
budgeted NIS 910,000 for 2012.