Elisha Shor

Shor saw Rabbi Levin throw himself on the ground, in full dress, as he made his way crawling and crying toward the stones of the Western Wall

Elisha Shor was a soldier in the Jerusalem Brigade during the Six Day War, and fought mainly in the southern part of the city. On Thursday, a day after the liberation of the Western Wall, forces of the brigade, Shor among them, entered the Old City to enforce the curfew. The job was not hard, Shor says, because the Arab citizens were calm and two or three days after the occupation they returned to their daily lives and opened their stores. When he saw one of his friends threatening a father and his son on the street, Shor spoke Arabic, reproached the soldier and calmed the father and the son.

For a few days after the occupation, entrance to the Old City was forbidden to citizens and it was impossible to get to the Western Wall – there was a need to clear unexploded mines and ammunition, destroy fences and fortifications. Jerusalem’s contractors were recruited to destroy the Mugrabi neighborhood and clear the area for a plaza near the Western Wall. But some important people were allowed to come into the city; one of them was Ben Eliezer who was the deputy mayor and belonged to the “Herut” party, and he brought along the “Rabbi of Prisoners”, Rabbi Arye Levin. As they neared the Western Wall, Shor saw Rabbi Levin throw himself on the ground, in full dress, as he made his way crawling and crying toward the stones of the Western Wall.

The Old City, and the Western Wall especially, remained the greatest desire of many Jews during the twenty years since the division of the city, and the IDF and the government promised that on Shavuot, which was on the Wednesday after the War, the Western Wall would be open to the public.

On the morning of the holiday Shor climbed to the top of the Tower of David and looked to the west, and in front of his wondering eyes he saw a flowing river of thousands of people walking down Jaffa Street. The Jews came out of the synagogues where they spent all night learning Torah during Shavuot Tikun, and waited patiently for the gates to be opened and for Jews to be able to go up to the Western Wall, the last standing vestige of the Temple.