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War of Independence "Road of Heroism Monument" medal, circa. 1948-49
Item code: 0130654

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"Heroism Monument to the Forgers (Penetrators) of the Way to Jerusalem" / "Road of Heroism Monument" medal (ND), 1948-49; minted in silver by "Aurum" company; weight: 5.6g; size (medal + 1st tallion): 28.5mm x 39mm.

Trapezoid shaped tallion with leafed(?) frame depicting what is also known as the "Heroism Road Monument", with legend in English "Monument to the Heroes of Jerusalem" on either side; on the monument, in Hebrew at top is the Biblical quotation "If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem May My Right Hand Forget its Cunning" with the IDF's emblem above, and further below among the bricks the words "Monument to the Forgers of the Way to Jerusalem" ("Gilad LePortzei Yerushalayim"); at top left is a factory(?) mark: the number "17" inside the Hebrew letter "Mem" (perhaps meaning "Factory 17" - "Mifal 17"). The reverse is plain apart from the manufacturer's triangular stamp with "Product of Israel" in Hebrew.

This is not an official Israeli Army medal, but given its ribbon it may have been issued privately to those involved in either the creation of the road to Jerusalem (which involved several foreign volunteers in the IDF - "Machal" members), or in the erection of the monument (1948).

Unlikely to have been a tourist momento as there is no touristic connection with the monument itself. The erection of the monument crowns a vital achievement of the time: the completion of a bypass route to beseiged Jerusalem, whose only route till then was the Latrun road (at that time, in spite of numerous Israeli attempts to capture it, in Jordanian Arab Legion control).

The bypass originated as an improvision devised by Col. David Marcus, called the "Burma Road" (Marcus himself was accidentally killed in June of that year and a separate monument built in his honor in Abu Gosh, where he was killed - some sources mistakenly attribute the monument here to him) but it was a dust road, rocky and winding and difficult to traverse, so a parallel wider road was built further south between September and December 1948 and known as the "Road of Heroism" ("Kvish HaGvura").

The creation of the road was vital to Jewish Jerusalem's survival and so - in national spirit - to all of Israel, as evidenced by the stature of the event: the Chief of Staff and the Prime Minister/Minister of Defence David Ben-Gurion attended the foundation of the monument's keystone (7 Dec. 1948), and in his address said "The road we are inaugurating today is the embodiment of the apex of wartime effort for the homeland and independence because by it is connected the most tragic as well as the most heroic battle since we were forced to stand at the gates before our numerous enemies - the battle for Jerusalem". The monument is one of a series now maintained by the Engineers Corps of the IDF. In VF.

מילות מפתח: מיליטריה מיליטאריה מדליות מדליה אות אותות הנצחה הוקרה צה"ל צה"לי צבא