In an address to participants in the Chidon Ha-Tanach (Bible Contest), former Prime Minister and General Ariel Sharon told the students that he keeps a Bible on his desk, because, as he put it, “we are again fighting the wars that they fought.”
From the time that Joshua entered the land of Israel, the longing for Jerusalem and its surrounding hill country has driven the political and military agenda of the Jewish people.
With high mountains surrounding it, Jerusalem is a well-protected city. As a result, the hills to the north and south and the mountain passes that provide access to the city have always been flash-points in the struggle for the holy city. This unit, which includes online preparatory sessions and one day of touring in Israel, will focus on the Ayalon Valley and the two main roads leading from there to Jerusalem. The program builds upon subjects the students may have studied in the past from the book of Joshua and the story of Hanukkah, and uses those sources to understand events in the history of contemporary Israel.
These Israel Upgrade programs are presented as samples; they can be modified and customized, and similar programs can be designed on other topics and/or at other sites in Israel, in order to meet the group’s particular educational goals and to support your curriculum.
All Preparatory Units will be taught using maps, photos, videos, and EdTech tools supplied by JETS. Instruction can be provided by local teachers with the aid of these materials, or remotely by JETS staff. There should be at least one remote session with Rabbi Haber, who will guide the students on the program in Israel.
Students will study the book of Joshua, chapters 6-10 (detailing the battles of Jericho, Ai and the battle against the southern kings). They will also study about the wars of the Maccabees, Israel’s War of Independence, and the Six-Day War.
Program in Israel
Over the course of several hours, the deep truth of Ariel Sharon’s statement that “we are again fighting the wars that they fought” will become very clear.
We will begin our day at the traditional grave site of the prophet Samuel, overlooking the ancient city of Givon. From there, we will follow in the footsteps of Joshua’s battle against the southern kings to the Ayalon Valley, where the sun stood still until his victory was complete.
We will then visit the neighboring ruins of Emmaus, where the wars of the Maccabees began, and discuss their liberation of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.
We will then travel to the Latrun tank museum to discuss why the Ayalon Valley was such a strategic theater of the 1948 and 1967 wars. We will examine the attempts of the Israeli forces to break the siege of Jerusalem in 1948, including an overlook of Bab-el-Wad and a visit to the alternative Burma road that succeeded in securing the link to Jerusalem (jeep ride optional).