'God had brought us back'

Times Staff Writers

WE were fighting the whole night between the 5th and 6th of June. We entered the city from three sides. My regiment went in from the side of the Rockefeller Museum. I was shooting through a window and a Jordanian shell fell near me. Some people were killed. I was wounded in the head by a piece of shrapnel and evacuated to Hadassah hospital.

A day later I heard on the radio that Israeli paratroopers had reached the Western Wall. I said to the guy lying next to me, 'Moti, let's run away.' We jumped out the window and hitchhiked to the Old City. We ran like crazy. I was still bandaged. I put a piece of paper in the wall. I wrote one word on it: "Shalom." … This was a historical moment [for Jews] to return to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount after 2,000 years. And I was one of those people. I said to myself, 'No matter what happens to you in your life, you'll never have such a moment of ecstasy again.'

It was like the coming of the Messiah. I was literally crying near the wall. I didn't pray because I am not religious, but this was a moment that was religious. God had brought us back to the place where the temple and King David had been….

I went back to the hospital and after two days they operated on me. They took out the shrapnel and the doctor told me I was very lucky because it was one centimeter from my brain….

In the years to come, I saw how we deteriorated….

We thought that the bigger Jerusalem will be, the better we will rule it…. But we were doomed to fail. In the Talmud, it says that if you try to hold on to everything, you will lose it all….

The notion of a unified city does not exist anymore…. And the more troubles we have, the more intifadas we have, the more Israelis are willing to divide it.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World