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Site of historic battle vandalized just before Memorial Day

Anti-Zionist slogans deface Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

A worker cleans graffiti sprayed at Ammunition Hill on Monday (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
A worker cleans graffiti sprayed at Ammunition Hill on Monday (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

The museum and memorial at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill were spray-painted with anti-Zionist slogans on Sunday night, two days before Israel’s Memorial Day.

Günter Grass was right” and “lousy Zionists” were two of the slogans painted on the historic 1967 battle site. Other graffiti featured slogans against President Shimon Peres and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

Site manager Katri Maoz described his shock upon seeing the damage Monday morning: “Black graffiti was sprayed on the 40 year-old museum and the old Jordanian building,” he told Army Radio. There was also an attempt to burn the large Israeli flag flown over the site, he said.

Maoz said the site hosts a section called the Memorial of the Sons, commemorating soldiers who fell in battle (elsewhere) who were children of soldiers who fought at Ammunition Hill. A Biblical verse engraved in the stone of that memorial was covered by black paint, he said.

Benjamin Netanyahu at last year's memorial ceremony at Ammunition Hill (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Benjamin Netanyahu at last year's memorial ceremony at Ammunition Hill (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the vandalism and ordered a special municipal team sent to clean the site in time for Wednesday’s ceremonies.

The vandalism came a few days after memorial sites in the Jordan Valley were defaced with anti-Israel graffiti. Maoz said he believed the slogans at Ammunition Hill were sprayed by Jewish anti-Zionists and not by Palestinian activists.

Veterans of Ammunition Hill's battle visit the site in February (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Veterans of Ammunition Hill's battle visit the site in February (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

The battle of Ammunition Hill, fought in the trenches and costing 36 Israeli and 71 Jordanian lives, has long served as a symbol of Israeli heroism. Days after the Six-Day war in 1967, Yoram Taharlev wrote a song called “On Ammunition Hill” that has served as the unofficial anthem of the paratroopers. The Paratroopers’ Brigade still issues red berets there to all of its combat troops.

The site was under threat of being shut down due to lack of funds several months ago, but was spared at the eleventh hour.

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