A soldier remembers

Yisrael Ariel, founder and head of the Jerusalem-based Temple Institute, reminisces about life as a young paratrooper in 1967, 7-year-old boy in 1948.

By
May 17, 2012 10:58
YISRAEL ARIEL giving a tour of the Temple Mount

YISRAEL ARIEL giving a tour of the Temple Mount 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Perhaps it was sheer coincidence. Then again, maybe it wasn’t. Either way, it was eerily appropriate that when I left the modest Old City Jewish Quarter apartment of Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who was one of the first paratroopers to reach the Temple Mount during the liberation of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War alongside IDF chief-of-staff Gen. Mordechai “Motta” Gur, that the swearing-in ceremony for this year’s class of new IDF paratrooper inductees was taking place at the Western Wall plaza below.

Ariel speaks in whispers, and – out of principle – only in Hebrew. He seems frail at the age of 73, nearly 45 years to the day since taking part in of one of the most defining moments in modern Jewish history, but there is no doubt that his mental capacities are completely intact.

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