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PHOTOS: Photographers Capture Nature’s Pandemic Reclaim of Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill

Photographers explore how three elements — nature, man and steel — bond together at the site of a key Six-Day War battle. 

JERUSALEM — During the Six-Day War in June 1967, 36 Israeli soldiers and 71 Jordanian soldiers fell into a fierce and pivotal battle on Ammunition Hill in northern Jerusalem.

The hill has since been preserved as a national heritage center and memorial site for those who died in the conflict between Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Syria. Each year it hosts thousands of visitors. During the coronavirus pandemic, however, the site has remained dormant — and something amazing happened.

“Nature, uninterrupted by tens of thousands of feet for 10 months, rose up like a waking giant and reconquered the hill,” Alon Wald, director of operations at Ammunition Hill, said. “But this time, there is no losing side.”

Observing the unprecedented burst of wildflowers and birds across the 15-acre site, Wald was inspired to post a message to several photography social-media groups.

Eliana Levavi chose hues that highlight the convergence of man, nature and steel at Ammunition Hill. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)
Motti Stern photographed the green Ammunition Hill through a steel sculpture. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)

“I sent out a call to anyone who has a good heart and a good lens and loves Jerusalem that if you want to come, I’ll open the site for you,” he said.

From across Israel, 32 talented photographers responded to Wald’s call, resulting in nearly 200 poignant images. Admirers can vote through the end of January on which ones will be printed, enlarged and exhibited at Ammunition Hill.

Amir Saperia’s photo conveys new growth among decay. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)
Juri Dvorak focused his lens on the greenery growing out of a bunker at Ammunition Hill. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)

“Life carries on”

Most of the photographers requested to come to the site at dawn. Wald, who lives an hour away in Rehovot, willingly left home at 5 a.m. every day for about a week to open Ammunition Hill to small groups of photographers at a time.

Tal Ofir Levi’s photo captures flowers blooming on an old battlefield. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)
Golan Phadida-Peleg chose black and white to highlight the stone trenches at Ammunition Hill. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)

“Some asked to come back again at sundown, and I said, ‘By all means.’ I wanted them to show Ammunition Hill as it was never seen before: the combination of nature, man and steel bonded together forever,” he said.

Arieh Ulman’s interpretation of the “Nature-Man-Steel” theme of the photography project at Ammunition Hill. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)
Tour guide Natan Adler took this picture of the sun-dappled memorial to members of the 66th Brigade killed in a Six-Day War battle in the Old City. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)

Wald’s father, Captain Rami Wald, was one of the paratroopers killed in the Battle of Ammunition Hill on June 6, 1967, in an area of the hill dubbed the Triangle of Death.

Netanel Tevel’s photo of greenery sprouting around the rusting machines of war. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)
Tal Ben David photographed other photographers in the trenches of Ammunition Hill. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)

“Now the Triangle of Death is all green and full of flowers,” said Wald, who was 10 months old when his father died. “This beautifully symbolizes my message — my mother’s message to me — that life carries on. We are saying through the lens that life goes on in a place that symbolizes sacrifice and war.”

Shani Naki honored the memory of Alon Wald’s father, Capt. Rami Wald, with this photo at Ammunition Hill. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)

Photographer Shani Naki dedicated one of her images to Wald’s personal story. She asked him for a red paratrooper beret and set it on a rock alongside a baby toy and a photo of Rami holding Alon before heading to battle.

This photo of Ammunition Hill was taken by Danni Gal, a veteran of the Six-Day War. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)
Grass grows around an old stone bunker at Ammunition Hill. (Photo by Shira Weisman/courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)

Another of the photographers, Danni Gal, did not fight on Ammunition Hill, but he was one of the liberators of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War.

Dana Arieli titled this overview of an empty Ammunition Hill “Bereaved Spaces.” (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)
Hadar Epstein took this photo of the flag at Ammunition Hill through the rusted metal of an artifact on the site. (Photo courtesy of Ammunition Hill Heritage Center)

Wald said all the photos “surprised and moved us.”

He anticipates that the site will soon reopen to the public.

Photographers Capture Nature’s Pandemic Reclaim of Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill appeared first on ISRAEL21c.

(Edited by Carlin Becker and David Martosko)