Monday, June 06, 2005

Jerusalem of Gold

The photo below is possibly the most famous image to come out of the 6 Day War. Moshe Dayan, possibly Israel's greatest, most famous warrior, strides into the reconquered Old City of Jerusalem, flanked on one side by Chief of Staff Yitzchak Rabin and on the other by Uzi Narkiss, Commander of the Central Command and therefore directly responsible for the fighting in and around Jerusalem.

L-R General Uzi Narkiss, Defence Minister Moshe Dayan, Chief of Staff Yitzchak Rabin Posted by Hello

It was my privilege as a student at Manchester University to have the opportunity to speak with General Narkiss (or Uzi as he insisted I call him), when he was the guest and keynote speaker at a Jewish Society Shabbat.

When he came to speak to us, I was in my final year of study; late 1995 or early 1996; I'm fairly sure that it was before the bus bombings and Operation Grapes of Wrath because I remember him being fairly positive.

Once he'd finished I grabbed him, explained that I was shortly making Aliyah and would be going to the army. We chatted about the possible return of the Golan Heights over a Scotch. He was a pragmatist, willing to trade land for peace but sceptical of the Syrians' intentions. To have shared a Scotch and a chat with the man who led the battle for our Eternal Capital was a real honour - he passed away shortly after.

Today is also the anniversary of D-Day - the date when the Allies launched Operation Overlord to free Europe from the Nazis. A day of truly historic dimensions therefore - the fireworks are going off over Jerusalem and the streets are thronged with people. News that the Government is going to pump in money to encourage young couples and students to stay here is exceedingly welcome and the timing of the announcement is appropriate. Once again, the Mayor of this Great city is shown up as a bit player - hopefully for not too much longer.



David All said...

It is great when you can meet and talk with somebody who was a part of historical events as General Narkiss was. On a smaller level I am always moved when have a chance to talk with veterans, especially those of WWII. Particuarly now with so few years left that there will be with us, I try not to miss any opportunity to do so. Whenever I have been able to talk with them, have always come away informed and moved as to what they went through so we could live in freedom or just to live.
About D-Day, June 6th, 1944, I believe General Eisenhower summed it best twenty years later. Standing with Walter Cronkite, at the American Cemetary on top of Omaha Beach, he said
"But its a wonderful thing to remember what those fellows twenty years ago were fighting for and sacrificing for, what they did to preserve our way of life. Not to conquer any territory, not for any ambitions of our own. But to make sure that Hitler could not destroy freedom in the world.
I think it's is just overwhelming. To think of the lives that were given for that priniciple, paying a terrible price on this beach alone, on that one day, 2,000 casualties. But they did it so that the world could be free. It just shows what free men will do rather than be slaves."

James Fletcher Baxter said...


The missing element in every human 'solution' is an
accurate definition of the creature. The way we define
'human' determines our view of self, others, relationships,
institutions, life, and future. Important? Only the Creator
who made us in His own image is qualified to define us
accurately. Choose wisely...there are results.

Many problems in human experience are the result of false
and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised in man-
made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by nature
and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of Criteria.
Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive characteristic
is, and of Right ought to be, the natural foundation of his
environments, institutions, and respectful relations to his
fellow-man. Thus, he is oriented to a Freedom whose roots
are in the Order of the universe.

Every generation has the same choice: who am I?..who are we?

Previous generations of free men always knew.


Jim Baxter
WWII & Korean War