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Long-Lost Tefillin Waiting for Owner at Ammunition Hill

Forty six years after the Six Day War, ex-soldiers are trying to figure to whom a pair tefillin found on Ammunition Hill belongs.
By David Lev
First Publish: 1/6/2014, 10:11 PM

The found tefillion
The found tefillion
Ammunition Hill Museum

Forty six years after the Six Day War, and the fierce battle of Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatachmoshet) in Jerusalem, the directors of the site are trying to figure to whom a long lost pair of tefillin (phylacteries) belongs.

The tefillin – or rather the case they were found in – hold one clue; the tefillin's casing has embroidered on it the Hebrew initials resh yud.

The story started a month ago, when a member of the famed 55 Brigade – the one that liberated Jerusalem in the Six Day War – brought the tefillin to directors of Ammunition Hill, telling them he had been holding on to them since the battle for the site against occupying Jordanian soldiers.

He found them right after the battle had been won, but his unit was immediately transferred to the Golan Heights – so he never had an opportunity to try and find the tefillin's owner. He forgot about the matter until he returned to Jerusalem after the war to pick up the equipment the soldiers had stashed there before heading north.

The former soldier took the tefillin home with him and put them away in a closet – where they remained unused for 46 years. He remembered them only recently, after reading about a plan to set up a museum on Ammunition Hill to commemorate the battle. Directors of the site said they were searching for items that they could use in displays. The ex-soldier remembered the tefillin and brought them in.

Directors of the site searched through records of soldiers who fought in the battle, in the hope that they could match up the initials with a soldier's – so far to no avail, though. They added that they were awaiting the arrival of the owner of the tefillin, and that if he should show up they would be happy to hand them over.

Update: Following the report on Arutz Sheva, the daughter of IDF veteran Rafi Yanai called Ammunition hill and identified the Tefillin as belonging to her father.