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Memorial at Tel Dotan – First Time since Oslo

Ceremony in memory of the battle that began the liberation of Judea and Samaria to be held Sunday.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/17/2012, 5:41 PM

Battle of Emek Dotan
Battle of Emek Dotan
Yad LaShiryon Latrun

For the first time since the Oslo Accords were implemented almost 20 years ago, a ceremony will be held at Tel Dotan in Samaria (Shomron) in memory of the battle of Emek Dotan. That battle against Jordanian armor, 45 years ago, was the opening battle in the liberation of Judea and Samaria in the Six Day War.

In the course of the day, tours will be held at Tel Dotan and Bor Yosef with the participation of the tank soldiers of Armored Regiment 45 that was commanded by the late Moshe (Brill) Bar Kochva.

Later in the day, a new observation point overlooking Emek Dotan will be inaugurated at the community of Mevo Dotan.

The large scale ceremonies at Emek Dotan ceased after the Oslo Accords, in which parts of Samaria were handed over to Palestinian Authority control. The memorial honoring the soldiers who fell in the battle was removed and transplanted into the Armored Corps Museum (Yad LaShiryon) at Latrun. 12 years later, in the Disengagement, the tank that had been placed there as an additional memorial was also transplanted, and all visits by Israelis to the area were barred.

In January of this year, the Center for Memorializing Gush Katif and Northern Samaria received permission, for the first time since the 2005 Disengagement, to let Israelis into the area of Tel Dotan and Bor Yosef.

Fifty-one soldiers were killed in the battle of Emek Dotan, which was one of the most important battles of the Six Day War. More than 30 soldiers received IDF citations for their actions in the battles of Emek Dotan and Shechem.

"The purpose of the event is to renew and revive the rich battle heritage of this battle among the Israeli public," explained Mochi Better, Director of the Center for Memorializing Gush Katif and Northern Samaria. "The ceremony and the inauguration of the observation point are part of a long line of activities in the region intended to attract visitors and tourists and spread the Dotan Valley's Biblical role, its battle stories, and the story of the settlement in Northern Samaria.