Moshe Preisler fought in the Old City as a paratrooper, but his company did not conquer the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Instead, after entering the Lions Gate they moved west through the market towards Jaffa Gate and the Tower of David. When they reached Jaffa Gate, they encountered only slight resistance from the Jordanians, and they quickly conquered the Tower and completed the conquest of the entire Old City. Moshe and his friends then sat and rested where only a few days earlier, Jordanian Legionnaires had sat, looking over the Old City on the east and westward towards the New City.
Ironically, six months earlier, during his regular army service, Preisler sat near the foot of that same tower, at an IDF position in the Tannous house, as part of the forces that held the “city line” opposite the Jordanians. Now, Moshe and the other soldiers began to shout down to the residents of the Mamila neighborhood, a slum which had been exposed to Jordanian fire during the entire period between the wars. “The war is over! Jerusalem is ours!” they called. Slowly, apprehensively, people began to leave their bomb shelters and then they began to run towards the Old City, buoyed by a sense of liberation, ignoring the mines and other dangers of the demilitarized zone. Moshe found a piece of paper, wrote his family’s home address in Netanya and a short message that he was safe, and threw it down from the heights of the city wall.
Two days later, when Moshe was on his way to the Golan Heights, he managed to find a phone and call his family, and he discovered that his note had reached its destination. At the height of the war, someone found the piece of paper and took it to Netanya. When Moshe finally returned home the note was lost, but the story continued to be told in the family again and again – the liberation, the joy, the note.
A few years ago, Moshe and his wife, both busy people, decided to take a vacation for the first time in a long time. They took a box of old letters with them to go through it, and there, under the love letters, was the note. To this day, Moshe does not know the anonymous, generous person who, during the commotion of war, had gone above and beyond and brought his family the message that their son was safe.