Jerusalem attractions category

The Plugat Hakotel museum


About

The Plugat HaKotel ("the Western Wall Squad”) Museum tells the story of a group of young heroic Betar members who risked their lives to keep a Jewish spark alive at the Western Wall. Their story is often forgotten and seldom mentioned in the annals of Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel.

 

Now is our opportunity to add to the pages of history the story of the courage and sacrifice of these Jews who defied the British Mandate to restore Jewish sovereignty over the Western Wall, after 2,000 years of forced separation from the holiest site for the Jewish people.

 

THE TIME PERIOD

The Old City of Jerusalem has always been a place of continuous war and strife. From the beginning of the British Mandate, Arabs constantly harassed the Jews of the Old City. From 1920 to 1929 this harassment escalated, culminating in the riots of 1929. 

 

Arab aggression led the British government, in December 1928, to ban Jewish activities near the Western Wall. Thus began a sad chapter in the history of Israel, where Jews were again prohibited from praying at their holiest site, The Western Wall.

 

THE STORY OF PLUGAT HAKOTEL

A group of Betar youth refused to accept the British ban on Jewish activities near the Western Wall. They decided to take action and raise an outcry by blowing the shofar at the Western Wall at the close of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. 

These young Betar members decided to risk themselves at the close of every Yom Kippur, commencing 1930.

 

At the risk of arrest and severe punishments, these youths smuggled a kosher shofar into the Old City and blew the “tekiah gedola” (the longest note blown on the shofar) defiantly at the close of  Yom Kippur each year.

 

After several years of successfully blowing the shofar, despite the arrests and harsh punishments that followed, the Betar youth decided to establish an ongoing campaign for the return of the Jews to the Old City and the Western Wall. In 1937, they formed a squad that would regularly stay in the Old City to increase the sense of security for the residents of the Jewish Quarter and to maintain a constant presence at the Western Wall.

 Thus, the Plugat HaKotel was born.

 

PLUGAT HAKOTEL - THE EPILOGUE

On the eve of Shabbat, on October 29, 1937, as the Plugat HaKotel squad returned from prayer at the Western Wall, Arab rioters opened fire on them, killing one member of the squad and wounding several others.

 

Following the attack, the British police raided the squad’s safe house, sealing its entrance and hanging a notice declaring “(B)y order of the High Commissioner, this house is seized under emergency regulations.”

 

This decree against the Plugat HaKotel may have ended the squad’s operations, but the power of their shofar blowing on Yom Kippur was impossible to stop. Although the group’s activities were halted, their heroism served as the foundation for the Irgun (Etzel), which changed the face of the history of Zionism and the Israeli military. 

Solely due to the unrelenting determination of Plugot HaKotel, the shofar continued to be blown at the Western Wall  every Yom Kippur until the establishment of our Jewish State of Israel; a tradition which continues to this day.

 

THE MUSEUM

The museum will memorialize, for the first time, the untold story of the Plugat HaKotel, which maintained the spiritual and Zionistic spark of Jewish presence at the Western Wall from the period between the riots of 1929 until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

 

This is the first museum to be built inside the Old City in the 21st century.

 

The museum, located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, between the Cardo and the Hurva Synagogue, will host groups of tourists, students, and soldiers. It will present interactively, in three different languages, this unique story of heroism and Zionism which was swallowed up by the renewal of Jewish activities in the Holy City.

 

MUSEUM OBJECTIVES

The museum will operate in coordination with other Zionist museums in Jerusalem, telling the story of the Jewish struggle for the establishment of the State of Israel; such as: The Begin Heritage Center and the Museum of Underground Prisoners.

 

Museum visitors will, for the first time, travel the path of historical Zionism beginning with the history of the Plugat HaKotel, continuing to the heroic stories of the Irgun and the British gallows, and ending with lessons of the leadership of Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel.

 

UNIQUENESS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PLUGOT HAKOTEL MUSEUM

Each visitor to the museum will experience the heroic stories of the Plugat HaKotel youth. From the stories of the creation of the security squad for the Old City residents, to the death of some of its members and the adventurous stories of smuggling shofars, along with the captures and trials that followed.

 

The museum’s grand opening event will marka historic milestone for the Zionist movement, with the heads of State of Israel in attendance.

 

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

 

We invite you to be part of the establishment of this unique and historic museum, which will reveal the hidden story of heroism that preceded the declaration of Israel’s independence on November 29, 1947. By being a sponsor of the museum, you will assure that this chapter of Israel’s pre-State history will be kept alive for all future generations.

 

Recognition Opportunities:

-Museum Naming

-Gallery Naming

-Featured Film

-Artifact of Historic Value

-Donor Wall 

Friends of the Museum

 

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND TO MAKE DONATIONS:

 

Chen Harkov, Development Director

+972-54-662-7966

Chen.harkov@gmail.com

 

 

Plugat HaKotel Main Museum Office: +972-2-535-0144

 

This week at The Plugat Hakotel museum

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