A tour of the trenches

Why did our leaders panic at the thought of Ammunition Hill closing?

By
May 17, 2012 16:18
Ammunition Hill

Ammunition Hill 521. (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)

 
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At precisely 5 p.m. on February 20, the Israeli flag that had been flying proudly over Ammunition Hill for years was lowered to the ground. Former paratroopers who had fought on the hill and children of their fallen comrades folded the flag. Taking it with them, they began marching to the Prime Minister’s Residence, where they planned to present the flag to the guard. The doors were locked behind them, quite possibly for the very last time. There just wasn’t enough money in the till to keep this national symbol of heroism under fire up and running.

Financial problems began about two and a half years ago, when the management at Ammunition Hill was ordered to stop charging an entrance fee. That’s because Ammunition Hill is a National Memorial Site, host to the central Jerusalem Day memorial ceremony for soldiers who fell fighting for the city in the Six Day War. By law, even if they are major tourist sites with museums and plenty of upkeep, the country’s seven National Memorial Sites must remain free to the public.

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