In 1946 the Yishuv – Mandatory Palestine’s Jewish community – built this road, designed by engineer David Laszlo Szekely (1909-1996). Szekely built a secret landing strip into the road, which was of use later in the War of Independence. Kfar Etzion is one of 4 small communities built a short distance from Jerusalem. Purchased by a Jewish Zionist in the early 1920s, the land upon which these communities were built became home to these Jewish pioneer families. The families evacuated in 1947, leaving the men behind to fight. Since the communities were on the way to Jerusalem, they would attempt to limit Arab irregulars’ and Jordanian troops from heading in that direction. Many attacks were launched by the Arabs against these communities, particularly Kfar Etzion, and almost all were repelled. Finally, one massive attack broke through and conquered the sites. Most of the men were massacred, although some lived and were taken as POWs to Jordan.
When Israel conquered the West Bank/Judea and Samaria in 1967, these communities were among the first to be repopulated and rebuilt by Jews, including some of the descendants of the 1948 men who were killed. These towns are considered “settlements” by the Palestinians and the international community. They were going to be kept as Israeli territory in Barak’s Camp David and Taba offers.
Happy 60th to Israel!
And Shabbat Shalom!