Sometime around 10:15 on the morning of June 7, 1967
The first reservist paratroopers of Brigade 55 broke through the Lion’s Gate leading into the Old City of Jerusalem and reached the narrow enclave of the Western Wall. Having just fought a fierce two-day battle in the streets of east Jerusalem, they grieved for lost friends, and grieved as well for their own lost innocence in what for many was their first experience of combat. They leaned against the Wall, some in exhaustion, some in prayer. Several wept, instinctively connecting to the Wall’s tradition of mourning the destruction of the Temple and the loss of Jewish sovereignty—precisely at the moment when Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem had been restored.
Several hours later, Yitzhak Yifat, a twenty-four-year-old reservist about to begin medical school, reached the Wall. As part of the brigade’s 66th Battalion, he and his friends had fought in the Six Day War’s toughest battle: Intimate combat against elite Jordanian Legionnaires in the trenches of Ammunition Hill, on the road to Mount Scopus.