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 Last Battles and the Fall of the Gush
The Battle of 25 Nissan  



25 Nissan 5708 (4.5 1948)

In response to the attack on Arab transport, Gush Etzion was attacked by mobs of Arabs supported by howitzers and armored cars, with the active collaboration of the Arab Legion and forces of the British Mandate that were still operating in Israel. Their objective was to remove our forces from the outposts commanding the main Hebron-Jerusalem highway and disrupting traffic. The British intended to evacuate Jerusalem, at the end of the British Mandate over Palestine on May 14, 1948, via a number of arteries.  One of them, the southern artery, led from Jerusalem to Hebron and from there to Egypt. They therefore contended that they wanted to secure free movement on this main traffic artery.

The Russian Monastery

After a desperate battle the attackers managed to conquer the Russian monastery. In the evening the monastery was recaptured by our forces and the attack on Arab transportation resumed, despite the fact that Gush Etzion's predicament had become most severe. "Mush" (Moses Zilberschmidt), the last commander of Gush Etzion, was fully aware that the attack on Arab transportation, upon the order of the Supreme Command, could engage Gush Etzion in a battle that would be beyond its capabilities but in his opinion: "this should be of a Masada type battle, amidst the recognition that by standing to the end we are assisting in the salvation of Jerusalem."

And this is what he had to say in his eulogy for the dead from the attack on 25 Nissan 5708 (4.5 .1948)


"Who are we and what are our lives worth when the main thing is the project which we are epitomizing? We will strike the enemy in any place where we can reach him; we will hinder him from carrying out his intention. Our firm response - Jerusalem forever."

(Mush - the commander of Gush Etzion, May the Lord avenge his blood)

From the last letter by a Kfar Etzion member:  "I do not know if we will live to enjoy the privilege but, in any event, our dear children will already be free citizens in a free homeland and for this we are prepared to fight. The front is broad and general; the war is for life or death, to be or not to be. We are obeying the order, the command of the Jewish community.

This is a frontline position of Jerusalem; we are defending its walls."

(Shalom G., May the Lord avenge his blood)


§         A Map of the Battle of 25 Nissan

§         The Dead


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