Recently Tank commander, Staff Sgt. Uriel Liwerant, o'h, who was killed in a training accident in the Golan almost three years ago, was remembered at the cornerstone laying ceremony of the new Kfar Etzion Visitors' and Heritage Center.
The entry hall to the new visitors' center will be dedicated to Uriel, who grew up in Efrat. The $250,000 hall will be a mini-museum that will portray the Jewish nation's ancient connection to the Gush Etzion region.
The innovative museum itself will be a state-of-the-art interactive visitors' center that will share the story of Gush Etzion, its values, its heroism and its ancient and modern history. (Voices Magazine, January 2011 - http://www.voices-magazine.com/displayIssue/January%202011)
Through interactive stations visitors will hear the personal stories of Gush Etzion's founders and defenders.
Through a reconstructed "war-time communications" trench, visitors will learn more about the lives of the men who remained to defend Gush Etzion and the southern entrance of Jerusalem after their wives and children had been evacuated for their own safety.
In an exhibition center about Gush Etzion in the 21st Century, visitors will learn of the modern-day achievements of the region's residents.
Gush Etzion is partnered in the new museum with the Jewish National Fund, the Gush Etzion Foundation, Israel's Ministry of Tourism, the Gush Etzion Regional Council, the Gush Etzion Tourism Authority and the Bnei Etzion Foundation.
A catalyst of the renovation and expansion of Kfar Etzion's museum and visitors' center was the declaration last year of Kfar Etzion as a National Heritage Project by Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Kibbutz Movement.
Israel's Heritage Lies in Gush Etzion
In addition to Gush Etzion's eternal ties to our patriarchs, to our Jewish heroes like King David, the Maccabees, the Bar Kochba rebels and more, Jews have lived and developed modern day Gush Etzion for a century. In fact, the Jewish National Fund purchased land in the area in 1928. Today it owns 80% of Gush Etzion's land.
Pre-war Gush Etzion numbered five communities that acted as a buffer for Jerusalem against an assault from the South. Its defenders held out valiantly against invading Arab armies for six months. Tragically Gush Etzion fell on the day before Israel's Independence was declared. That day has been commemorated since 1948 as Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day).
In his eulogy to the 250 men and women of Gush Etzion who were killed by the Jordanian Legion, David Ben Gurion said, “I can think of no battle in the annals of the Israel Defense Forces which was more magnificent, more tragic or more heroic than the struggle for Gush Etzion…If there exists a Jewish Jerusalem, our foremost thanks go to the defenders of Gush Etzion.”
To find out more about the Gush Etzion Heritage Center, visit: http://www.jnf.org/work-we-do/our-projects/tourism-recreation/gush-etzion-visitor-center.html
To find out more about Staff Sgt. Uriel Liwerant or to help complete the Uriel Liwerant entrance hallway, visit: http://support.jnf.org/site/TR?pg=fund&fr_id=1770&pxfid=5280
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gush-etzion.org.ilwww.gush-etzion.org.il