Gush Etzion regional council head Davidi Perl on Sunday asked Education Minister Shai Piron to include the history of the “Lamed Hey” fighters in Israeli schools' official curriculum. The subject is taught in many history classes in Israel, especially in religious state schools, but it is not a requirement.
Monday marks the date on the Hebrew calendar that the 35 fighters died trying to help Jews in Gush Etzion defend themselves.
The Lamed Hey, or Convoy of 35, fighters were sent by the Haganah and Palmah, two pre-state Jewish defense organizations, to resupply the residents of four kibbutzim in Gush Etzion, who were under an Arab blockade. The fighters set out late at night on January 1, 1948, with the supplies. They were discovered by local Arabs near dawn, surreptitiously trying to get past the village of Surif. They were spotted by Arab women, who ran back to the village and returned with a mob of Arabs, who were later joined by residents of other villages in the area. According to another version of the story, they were discovered by an old man whom they caught but decided not to kill, and who then betrayed their location.
The battle ensued, and the Haganah fighters kept on resisting until they ran out of ammunition later in the day, when they were murdered by the Arabs. Several months later, the Gush Etzion towns were overrun by Arabs.
In his letter to Piron, Perl wrote that “there is no doubt that the message and values that are learned from the battle are close to your own heart, and would be an excellent complement to your work in the Education Ministry. It would be worthy for our children to learn the story of bravery of a battle that no one survived. By doing so we will ensure that their memories and actions are not forgotten,” Perl added.