Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem 390.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Yydl)
The government decided Ammunition Hill will not close, following a
meeting between site managers and cabinet sectary Zvi Hauser on Monday
During the meeting the parties agreed that this year a
sum of NIS two million will be transferred in order to continue running
the site, NIS 400, 000 of which will be transferred immediately.
Monday, Veterans from the Six Day War made their way toward the Prime
Minister's Residence with a large flag that flew atop Ammunition Hill in
protest of the memorial's closure that day. It marked the first time
that the flag had been removed from the hilltop since 1967.
Paratroop Brigade fought a fierce battle at Ammunition Hill against the
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 for Jerusalem. The
memorial and museum at the site were closed at 5 p.m. Monday after a
beret ceremony for paratroopers, due to a lack of funds.
two-and-a-half years we did everything that we could to honor the
memories of our fathers" said Alon Vald, the son of Captain Rami Vald
who was killed in the Six Day War. He said that they took the flag down
with "pain in our hearts," but added that they found no alternative.
before the veterans removed the flag, a tearful veteran begged them not
to take it down. "Don't take the flag down" he said. "You simply can't
leave this place without a flag. Politics are not the right way, there
are dozens of options, just not the flag."
Binyamin Netanyahu vowed Sunday to find the funding needed to save the
site. “We owe a great deal to our soldiers,” Netanyahu said at the start
of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
“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 said.
Since the state comptroller forbade the site from collecting entrance fees two years ago, it has struggled financially.
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, Katri Maoz,
the director of Ammunition Hill said Sunday. 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.