In this moving poem, Israeli songwriter, poet and writer, Haim Hefer, poetically describes the historic moment of the liberation of the Western Wall by Israeli paratroopers in the Six Day War in 1967.
The Paratroopers Are Crying
This Kotel has heard many prayers
This Kotel has seen many walls fall
This Kotel has felt wailing women’s hands and notes pressed between its stones
This Kotel has seen Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi trampled in front of it
This Kotel has seen Caesars rising and falling
But this Kotel has never before seen paratroopers cry.
This Kotel has seen them tired and exhausted
This Kotel has seen them wounded and scratched-up
Running towards it with beating hearts, with cries and with silence
Pouncing out like predators from the alleyways of the Old City
And they’re dust-covered and dry-lipped
And they’re whispering: if I forget you, if I forget you, O Jerusalem
And they are lighter than eagles and more tenacious then lions
And their tanks are the fiery chariot of Elijah the Prophet
And they pass like lightning
And they pass in fury
And they remember the thousands of terrible years in which we didn’t even have a Kotel in front of which we could cry.
And here they are standing in front of it and breathing deeply
And here they are looking at it with the sweet pain
And the tears fall and they look awkwardly at each other
How is it that paratroopers cry?
How is it that they touch the wall with feeling?
How is it that from crying they move to singing?
Maybe it’s because these 19-year-olds were born with the birth of Israel
Carrying on their backs – 2000 years.
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