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The Burma Road Saves Jerusalem | Milestones Israel

65 years ago, under the cover of night, 3 men drove a military jeep into the unknown. It was just days after they suffered great losses in an attempt to occupy the fortress of Latrun. The mighty police station built by the British was held by the Jordanian forces, effectively blocking the road to Jerusalem.

It had been more than a week since supplies had arrived to the Capital of the 14 day-old state of Israel. People were starving.

Shlomo Shamir, 1948

Shlomo Shamir, 1948

“We must think out of the box, we need to be creative,” said Shlomo Shamir, the front commander. He asked Amos Horev and Gavrush (Gabriel Rappaport) to join him for a night Patrol in search of a way to bypass the dangerous occupied fortress of Latrun.

Approximately 10 Kilometers away, knowing nothing about Shamir’s patrol, Eliyahu Sela known as Raanana, a Palmach officer, was preparing for his own adventure.

Morale was low for Raanana’s soldiers based near Jerusalem. The road had been blocked for several days, the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem fell into Jordanian hands, and it felt like the whole city was about to surrender.

Was it a miracle or just good luck that the Jeep coming from the west met with Raanana’s jeep coming from the East? I don’t know the answer but this meeting, somewhere near Kibbutz Harel, saved the city of Jerusalem from hunger.

This is how the Burma Road was found. It was named after a 700 KM road built by the British army between Burma and China hidden from the Japanese army in 1945.

After 24 hours, the citizens of Jerusalem could see the first Jeep convoy filled with supplies arriving from Tel Aviv. It was the moment to whisper an old prayer:

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

 Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

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