The First Battle on the Way to Jerusalem
This is an article from the children’s newspaper Davar Le'Yeladim from 1948 describing the battles on the way to Jerusalem during the War of Independence. The article is accompanied by a drawing of the battle and describes in relatively simple language the story of the battle. The article mentions the rallying cry of the commander of the Haganah when they set out to conquer the road to Jerusalem: “Jerusalem was Jewish, it will be Jewish, and we are its defenders.” It describes in the different battles in detail, and especially the battle at Kastel, which is also illustrated.
The page also includes a photograph of Eliyahu Golomb, one of the founders of the Hagana, who passed away in 1945.
The Battle for Jerusalem lasted from December 1947–July 1948, and despite attempts by the Arab forces to blockade the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Israeli forces succeeded in breaking the blockade and later establishing a new route to Jerusalem to avoid the Arab garrison at Latrun.
Jewish History teachers can use this source to discuss the War of Independence and the blockade on Jerusalem.
Jewish Studies teachers can use the translation of the text before Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’atzmaut when teaching about the establishment of the State in 1948.
Media Studies classes can use this article to discuss the concept of children’s newspapers and the type of writing and formats used.
Hebrew teachers can use this text for teaching advanced students in the lead-up to Yom Ha'atzmaut.
What is the title of this article?
When was the article written?
Which battles are described?
In which paper did this article appear?
How are the Jewish and Arab fighters described in the article?
What was the commander’s command of the day?
Describe the illustration. What does it show about the fighting style of the Haganah?
Who is portrayed in the photograph in the centre of this article?
Reading Between the Lines
What was the situation in Jerusalem during the time of the War of Independence?
Why was it so important to fight this battle to enable access to Jerusalem?
How is Jerusalem depicted in this article?
Why did the newspaper include a picture of this specific person?
Have you travelled on Route 1, the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway?
What physical reminders of the battle can you see along this route? What do you feel when you see these things?
What happened to the Hagana after the War of Independence?
Research and create a map showing the different battles to relieve the siege of Jerusalem.
THE FIRST BATTLE ON THE WAY TO JERUSALEM
“Soldiers of the Hagana! The enemy has placed a siege around Jerusalem in order to starve and subjugate the Jews of our city and its defenders – Jerusalem was Jewish, it will be Jewish. and we are its defenders.”
These were the orders today from the commander of the Hagana on 25th Adar II, when the soldiers set out to capture the route to Jerusalem.
At midnight, the soldiers of the Hagana began their attack on the Arab villages Hulda, Dayr Muhaysin, and Seidon. These three villages overlooked the route to Jerusalem and Latrun.
At 4 a.m., the military radio operator announced: “We have entered the village Hulda, we are taking control of the posts, the village is under our control, regards from the fighters in Hulda. Arab are seen fleeing from Dayr Muhaysin. Seidon has be captured without resistance.”
At the same time, the enemy gathered its forces in an attempt to capture the Arab village Kastel that was in Hagana hands. The battle was hard and vicious. Wave after wave of attackers joined in the fight.
At 9:42 a.m., the radio operator announced: “ Dayr Muhaysin is in our hands, the enemy has retreated, sniper fire is coming from the north, mortars have destroyed two cars of the enemy near Wadi Sarar….”