Jewish vets memorial set for Jerusalem hill

JERUSALEM — A monument honoring all the world's Jewish war veterans is to be erected on Jerusalem's Ammunition Hill, site of one of the most famous battles in the 1967 reunification of the city.

The decision was made at a recent London meeting of the organizing committee of the World Assembly of Jewish War Veterans, said Maj.-Gen. Moshe Nativ, Israel's representative and initiator of the monumental project.

Nativ, chairman of Tzevet, the organization of Israel Defense Force pensioners, said he saw the monument not only as a memorial but a unique tourist attraction for visitors who may wish to learn more of Jewish valor in armies around the world.

"It's not a gimmick," Nativ said. "It doesn't exist anywhere else in the world and the only place it can truly be set up is here in Israel."

Nativ said he proposed the idea to the French, English and American members of the committee, who enthusiastically endorsed it. The proposal will be brought before a world gathering of Jewish veterans in Jerusalem in February for final approval.

"The idea is that whoever wants to identify with a Jewish fighter will have an address. The site chosen was Ammunition Hill," Nativ said.

Some 250 Jewish veterans are expected to participate in the conference scheduled for Feb. 16 to 19 as part of Israel's 50th anniversary celebrations. Participants will be coming from the United States, South Africa, Greece, France, England, Finland and the former Soviet Union, Nativ said. They will be meeting with President Ezer Weizman and top IDF officers, including Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Amnon Lipkin Shahak.

Nativ also wants to establish a library and center at the museum that will allow research into Jewish fighters in history.

"This memorial could enhance its development of the whole issue of Jewish warriors. No money will be asked for," Nativ said, adding that all funds for erecting the monument will come from private donations. "I think that we will find plenty of willing contributors to this project."

Nativ said the monument would be symbolic of a Jewish fighter.