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JNF Wire: Former Enemes Join Forces in Peace

Museum at Ammunition Hill to Tell the Story of Both Sides in Historic Battle

***JNF WIRE***

October 31, 2014
Adam H. Brill, Director of Communications
212-879-9305 x222
Museum at Ammunition Hill to Tell the Story of Both Sides in Historic Battle
By: June Glazer

JNF Wire AMMO Hill.jpg

Katri Maoz, CEO of Ammunition Hill Memorial Site, guiding Jordanian officers delegation at site.

They looked like a typical group of visitors to Ammunition Hill on a hot August afternoon. The site, in Israel's capital city of Jerusalem, is a national memorial to the battle between Israeli and Jordanian forces that took place there during the Six Day War. Each year, some 200,000 people tour its preserved Jordanian fortifications and visit its museum.

This was no typical tour group, however. Its members, former enemies, are now cooperating on a project to tell the story of what happened at Ammunition Hill on June 6, 1967, when 37 Israeli and 71 Jordanian combatants died in one of the most decisive battles of the war. Israeli victory there led directly to the capture of the Old City and the reunification of Jerusalem after almost 2,000 years. 

This past August, a four-man delegation representing the Jordanian Army met with an Israeli team at the site for two days to lay the groundwork for their cooperation.

"We invited the Jordanians because we would like to tell the story of Ammunition Hill from both sides and to show the whole picture," said Nurit Levinovski, curator of the future exhibition. "We are in need of their photos, maps, documents, stories, and other materials they can provide us, and my understanding from our meetings with them is that they are willing to help."

Members of the two sides met for intensive talks during the two days, but also took time to tour the stronghold and museum and to exchange stories and anecdotes about the battle from their respective viewpoints. "We were happy to learn, for instance, that the commander of the Jordanian troops at Ammunition Hill is still alive and that we may be able to secure a taped interview with him," Levinovski said.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the tour for the visiting delegation came when the group stopped at a shattered Jordanian bunker that had held out to the last and where 17 Jordanians died. Israeli troops buried the bodies in a trench at the top of the hill and marked it with a grave marker that read: "Defense Army of Israel—Here lie buried 17 brave Jordanian soldiers."

"It's a moment of great symbolism," said Alon Badihi, a member of the Israeli team and executive director of Israeli operations for Jewish National Fund, which is assisting in the development and renovation of the memorial site. "Former enemies are coming together in peace on a spot where some of the fiercest fighting took place."

Taking in the panoramic view of Jerusalem from atop the hill, Badihi noted that this is not the first time since 1967 that Jordanians have visited the site. After Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, other groups—including former battle participants—have also visited. "However, it is the first time a research and education group has come to work with us to help build the museum and shape its content and message," Badihi said.

“The Jordanian delegation, led by Amjad Jamal, a major general in the Jordanian Army and head of its History Research and Education Division, said he was pleased with the two-day talks. "We came to listen and to see how we could assist. But we also expected to obtain information to help us in our efforts to document our side of the battles [with Israel], and what we heard was very good," he said during lunch with the Israeli team.

Dr. Baker Khazar Almajali, a history researcher and senior advisor to the Jordanian Army chief-of-staff, added that he was sure the two sides would hold further meetings in the future. "Continuous meetings mean continuous dialogue. We want the Israelis to understand us and we want to understand them. This is so we can maintain the peace, hope, and ambitions of our generation and our children's generation. We need always to look toward the future and for symbols of hope so we can live together in peace," he said.

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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