Those who stand for Israel most likely know the David Rubinger photograph taken after the IDF recaptured the Western Wall during the 1967 Six-Day War. Now, five decades later, The Times of Israel reports that the three IDF paratroopers have reconvened at the holy site in order to remember and reenact the iconic image:
With the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War approaching, Zion Karasenti, Haim Oshri, and Dr. Itizik Yifat returned to the Old City this week to remember the moment.
Karasenti, Oshri, and Yifat described to Channel 2 News how they, as 20-something reserve duty soldiers, inadvertently became the symbol of a nation fulfilling a 2,000 year dream.
“There were snipers everywhere, especially from overhead. They could have thrown a grenade on us and finished us,” Karasenti recalled of the battle for the Jerusalem holy site.
Since none of them had ever been to the Western Wall, which had been under Jordanian rule since 1948, they admitted that, at first, nobody was really sure they had even captured the “real thing.”
“Everyone talked about the Kotel [Western Wall] all the time, but we were new and we had never been there. That day was the first time any of us had ever been there,” Oshri said.
At the time there was only a narrow corridor separating the Western Wall of the Temple Mount from the nearby houses and buildings of the Old City.
“When they [our colleagues] raised the flag over the Western Wall, that was our sign,” Karasenti said.
“After the 48 hours of battle, we were tired and sweaty, our uniforms were dusty and bloodied, but when we walked down the stairs and saw the stones of the Western Wall, a lot of the guys started crying.
“It was an extraordinary thing, its hard to describe,” Karasenti said.