Rabbi Arye Shalom walked a long road to get to Jerusalem. He was born in 1947 in post- war Poland, and his family made aliya to Israel when he was a child. During the Six Day War he served as driver for the IDF Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Goren and was attached to the paratroops brigade.
After a nerve-racking night, in the early morning hours, the government finally gave approval to push through into the Old City, but with a warning to the forces not to enter the holy places yet. A little later, this was approved. Shalom, who did not know the Old City, ran with his platoon in the alleys, following Rabbi Goren towards the Temple Mount. With awe and reverence they ascended to the holiest place in Judaism, the shooting still heard in the background. All the soldiers stood up spontaneously and started singing “Jerusalem of Gold” with tears of joy.
Rabbi Goren, who had been to the Western Wall as a young boy, knew the way to get there. Moshe Peles (“Stampel”), who commanded the force that broke into the Temple Mount, ordered to first secure the area of the Western Wall. All of the warriors volunteered for the task, and Shalom was one of the four chosen to accompany Rabbi Goren. On their way down they asked a man from the Mugrabi neighborhood where the Western Wall was, and he pointed to the lines of small stones on the top of the Wall. More and more of the huge stones of the Wall’s base became visible as they descended. Soon the rest of the warriors joined them, and they all hugged each other in excitement as they realized the magnitude of the event.