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A compass of one of the warriors of the Lord was discovered at the top of the Battle Hill in the Judean Lowlands

The compass, as well as Bren type machine gun pods, were uncovered in an archaeological study by Dr. Rafi Lewis from Ashkelon Academic College and Haifa University and Il Marco from the Antiquities Authority * According to the researchers, the compass belonged to the platoon commander or one of the two patrolmen who fought in force * The study may shed light on the battle in which they were killed all warriors

To the right of the compass. On the left is a pomegranate seed. Photo: Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority
To the right of the compass. On the left is a pomegranate seed. Photo: Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority

A compass belonging to one of the soldiers of the Mountain Division (HLA) was discovered at the top of the battle hill in the Yehuda Lowlands, next to the pods of a Bren machine gun. according to the researchers Dr. Rafi Lewis from Ashkelon Academic College and Haifa University and Il Marco from the Antiquities Authority, the compass belonged to the platoon commander, Danny Mass, or to one of the two patrolmen who fought in the force - Yitzhak Halevi or Yitzhak Zebuloni.

The Leh case is one of the most difficult and missing cases of the 75 war. Even after more than 35 years since the battle took place, in which all XNUMX fighters who were on their way to help the besieged Gush Etzion were killed, the event still occupies an important place in the Hebrew and Zionist ethos.

The research findings will be published at the beginning of May in the scientific journal "Researches of the Land of Judah" of the Antiquities Authority and Sde Kfar Etzion School, which is produced in cooperation with the National Fund for Israel, Bar Ilan University, the Nature and Parks Authority, the Yeselzon Foundation and Mizrah R&D. The journal is produced as part of the 'Researches of the Land of Judah' conference that will be held on May 8th (LXNUMX B'Omer).

In the last two years managers Dr. Rafi Lewis from Ashkelon Academic College and Haifa University and Il Marco from the Antiquities Authority A unique archaeological study on the Hill of the Battle of the Holy Land (N.G. 573). Dr. Louis and Marko met for the first time as part of reserve service in the IDF unit for locating missing persons. There, they use archeological methods to search for soldiers whose burial place is unknown.

The research, which uses archaeological methods to research events that took place in the recent past, examines Givat Hela from the archaeological and environmental angle, and collects - for the first time, in an orderly and systematic way - evidence that remains to this day from the battlefield. These testimonies join the few findings collected from the area by the Sde Kfar Etzion High School, and the testimonies collected in the past from the Arab fighters and the British officer who coordinated the collection of the bodies of the fighters, and conducted an investigation of the Arab fighters in the field. From the Israeli side of the platoon, not a single fighter survived, to tell the story..

"We saw that the material evidence from the battle was disappearing," say Marco and Dr. Lewis, "the objects are weathering in the field, and travelers are collecting souvenirs, and we felt that if we don't do it now, in a few years we won't have the opportunity to recreate the battlefield. With the help of colleagues, family members and reserve friends, we set off."

On one of the research days, the researchers found at the top of the battle hill, behind a rock that was apparently used as a shelter for one of the fighters, several Bren machine gun pods and a compass made of brass, which has a mechanism for locking the dial. In-depth and worldwide research shows that the compass - of a simple type, which did not bear the manufacturer's name, was created during the first third of the 20th century. Forensic research done in the Israel Police laboratories, taught that the glass of the compass was shattered as a result of a bullet that broke through the frame of the compass, scratched and shattered its glass.

 "At this point, it is impossible to associate the compass with a particular fighter, but it is likely that it belonged to one of three - the platoon commander Danny Mass, or one of the two rangers who fought with the force - Yitzhak Halevi or Yitzhak Zebuloni." says Dr. Rafi Lewis from Ashkelon Academic College and Haifa University. "Certain identification of the original owner of the compass is not possible at this stage, but we have hope that in the future archival material will be discovered that will make this possible."

Il Marco, archaeologist of the Antiquities Authority, says: "The fact that the compass corresponds to the period in which the battle took place, and the fact that the compass was found to have been hit by a projectile, reinforces the assumption that it was used in the battle of Leh, and also shows that a commanding figure - or at least a leading figure, was present at the scene during the final stages of the battle."

On a personal note, Dr. Lewis and Marko add: "This study is a kind of punch in the stomach. It is unlike any archaeological research we have done. Even if the events we studied from the distant past included evidence of destruction and severe acts of violence, then the research at Givat Ha'Bab is different: although 75 years have passed since the fall of God, but here, there are faces and names. There is an almost personal acquaintance with each of the characters. You wonder what happened to the warriors, or whether the compass - with the marks of a bullet on it, pierced the heart of whoever held it in their pocket or hand. You perform work as scientifically as possible, but it is very difficult to detach yourself from the emotional aspect.

According to the Director of the Antiquities Authority, Eli Escozido, "The exciting research, which goes back to the chilling moments from the battle of the Hellenic Army. Shows how archeology can serve as a tool for understanding historical events, not only from the distant past - but also from the recent past." 

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