The A"CH Scenic Lookout in the Naftali Mountains, Upper Galilee.
(photo credit: MERAV SHANI ISRAELI)
A new scenic lookout point that overlooks the magnificent vistas of the Hula Valley was inaugurated in the Naftali Mountains on Friday, November 24th, in memory of two soldiers, Chai Kalomiti of Tel Aviv and Amir Sheikh, from the Western Galilee community of Abu Snan, both of whom were killed in battle in Lebanon twenty-four years ago.
The site, which was built thanks to a donation from JNF USA, has been named the A”CH Scenic Lookout, both because these are the initials of the first names of the two soldiers (Amir and Chai) and because together they compose the Hebrew word ach (“brother”), in recognition of the young men’s sense of brotherhood.
A memorial sign at the site tells the story of these two soldiers who fought in the Nahal Brigade’s Shaham Battalion, of the terrible day on which they fell and of the alliance formed by their families and friends, who united around their loss. “We have come here to support the families,” said Itai Tagner, who commanded the company in which both men served, “But we are the ones getting so much support from them.”
Chai Kalomiti and Amir Sheikh were killed in January 1993, when their armored personnel carrier was blown up by a roadside bomb on Mount Dov on the Lebanese-Israeli border. Chai was moving spirit of the company, the soldier in charge of the assignment schedule, the man responsible for keeping everything in order. Amir was a combat soldier who excelled at sports. Both had volunteered to serve in the Nahal unit where they met for the first time. Although each belonged to a different sector of Israeli society, they shared a common goal: to serve and defend their country.
After their death, the IDF company’s five officers, the families and their friends stayed in close contact, and now, twenty-four years later, this group remains as solid as ever: they meet up, visit on the anniversary of the soldiers’ death and go on excursions together – and throughout the years they always dreamed of one day establishing a memorial site that they could visit and where they could commune with the memory of Chai and Amir.
On Friday, November 24th, this dream was realized in the Naftali Mountains. With the help of a donation from JNF USA the scenic lookout point was inaugurated, complete with a plaza where visitors can rest on benches and look out over the wonderful panorama of the Hula Valley, Lebanon and Mount Hermon. The site has been named the A”CH Lookout not only because of Amir and Chai’s initials, but also because the word ach in Hebrew symbolizes the sense of closeness between the families and friends.
Read more, see photos of the A”CH Lookout inauguration