During the days before the “Oslo Peace,”
we drove through Bethlehem
to get to Gush Etzion from Jerusalem, Israel.
Alon Shvut, Kfar Etzion, Efrat, Eleazar and Neve Daniel
many, many times over the years.
The way, lined with rocks and brush, was not cultivated,
and was mostly barren hills when we first drove there.
Jews had settled in Gush Etzion before 1948,
but the Jordanian Legions wanted to conquer Jerusalem,
and the Jews were in their way.
The brave defenders of Gush Etzion put up a strong resistance,
but were badly out numbered.
This is the bunker in Kfar Etzion, into which a live grenade was thrown to kill
some of the last of the sick and women.
Today in Kfar Etzion you can see this stone in memory of the ל”ה,
the 35 men killed and their bodies mutilated
while trying to save the communities of the Gush.
Now the area is built up, but from 1948 until 1967,
the only surviving remnant in the area was
this one lone ancient oak tree.
This past Friday we participated in Gush Etzion Scavenger Hunt.
From this water tower,
we had a great view of the Har Etzion Yeshiva
and the community of Alon Shvut.
During the morning, we heard reports that two high school boys
who attended a yeshiva in Kfar Etzion had gone missing the night before.
(Turned out later that there were three teenagers.)
Those boys were somewhere
On Kfar Etzion we saw one of the first buildings built in the 1940s,
after 1967 it was rebuilt for four families.
This man was one of the children born in Gush Etzion.
The children were evacuated and survived the massacres of 1948,
but that is another fascinating story.
He returned after 1967, made his home in Kfar Etzion
and now tells his life story to visitors.
The Scavenger hunts of the Old City and Nahlaot were fun and educational.
Now with new, faster roads, Gush Etzion, is only minutes away from Jerusalem,
and with the kidnapping of three young yeshiva students,
it is now in the hearts and minds of all Israelis.
That is The Real Jerusalem Streets today.