Moshe Amirav grew up in Netanya, but even when he was young he felt that his soul was linked to Jerusalem. He was a member of the Betar youth movement and later became a counselor. He taught the youngsters that a day would come and the city of Jerusalem would be unified, and his dream was to leave Netanya and live in Jerusalem. When he was a teenager, he and one of his friends made a detailed plan to take a shofar, prayer shawl (tallit) and phylacteries (t’fillin), cross the border in Jerusalem, reach the Western Wall and blow the Shofar there. They were willing to pay with their lives, and on the eve of Yom Kippur they arrived at Mount Zion, where they ran into the poet Uri Zvi Greenberg. When they told him about their plan, Greenberg held Amirav’s hand and forbade him to take such a risk, “You will live, because one day you will liberate Jerusalem”, he told Amirav.
Three years later, in the Six-Day War, Amirav served as a paratrooper in the unit that was sent to Jerusalem with orders to defend the city from a possible attack by the Jordanians. Despite these orders, Amirav was convinced that they were on their way to liberate Jerusalem, and Uri Zvi Greenberg’s prophecy was about to be fulfilled. When the battle began, Amirav was injured in the fighting in Sheikh Jarrah, and was hospitalized at Hadassah Hospital with shrapnel in his head. While he was lying in his hospital bed listening to the radio, he heard the news of the arrival of the paratroopers at the Western Wall and began to cry; he was supposed to be there with his friends, not here in the hospital. Amirav tried to persuade the doctor to postpone his operation, and when he failed, he went out through the window with the soldier in the bed next to him, and they managed to find someone to drive them to the Lion’s Gate. From there they made their way on foot – Amirav supported his friend who was wounded in the buttocks and the friend guided Amirav who was wounded and had a bandage on one eye. In that way they managed to reach the Western Wall and fulfill Greenberg’s promise. Only then did Amirav agree to return to the hospital and undergo the operation.
During his stay in the hospital, Amirav wrote the book “The Story of a Paratrooper” that generations have grown up on, and after the war he continued to deal with issues related to Jerusalem. The euphoria of the war passed, and over the years he understood how complex and complicated are the issues of the city he loved from his youth.