Is saying "The people are for the Golan" still applicable?

While Jerusalem gets all the attention, there are those who seek to commemorate the victory on the Golan Heights 50 years ago.

Shimon Cohen ,

View from the Golan
View from the Golan
Flash 90

Israel liberated more than just Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria during its stunning victory in the Six Day War 50 years ago. It also liberated the Golan Heights bordering Syria.

The capture of the Golan Heights has received less attention than the reunification of Jerusalem during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the war. However, the liberation of the Golan Heights has not been completely forgotten.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Oded Porat, the educational director of Midreshet Hagolan (The Golan Institute), spoke about the various events which were held to mark the victory in the north.

Porat began by speaking about the discussions which will be held by the regional council during the 50th anniversary.

"We, as a midrasha, are engaged in historical and heritage education ... for the generations to come, and we will conduct two events. The first event will be a seminar which we will hold next Sunday at the midrasha on the Golan, focusing on the military aspect.

"The speaker will be Shlomo Mann, who founded a fascinating website called "Na'amush," which describes the Six Day War in the Golan in various aspects, and which recently published the stories of the very important battle of Tel Faher, the Ammunition Hill (a crucial battle in Jerusalem) of the Golan Heights.

"A second lecture will be given by Chita Cohen, the legendary helicopter pilot, who will speak about the unknown move during the last hours of the war to secure the border at lines which are better for us. The paratroopers who fought in Abu Agla in Sinai then fought against the volcanic rock barricades that formed the border with Syria. It is an unknown story about an operation which is not common in Israel's wars.

"In addition, the midrasha will hold a conference at Bar-Ilan University. This will be the third conference of the midrasha at the university, and it will also discuss the question of the ability to educate [students] during a school trip. The main part of the event will focus on the Golan Heights with researchers, archaeologists and tour guides from this area."

In this context, Porat noted that despite the prevailing feeling that the Golan Hiehgts are an inseparable part of Israel, there are quite a few sites throughout the Golan that are unfamiliar to the Israeli traveler. "There are entire areas that they have not yet reached, and which can only be reached with special security coordination."

Porat was asked how he explains the fact that the Golan Heights, which is part of the Israeli consensus, did not receive enough coverage during the events marking the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, while the other areas at the heart of the debate between right and left, such as Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, were the focus of the events.

"We have to remember that we are in what is called the 'periphery'", he replied, quickly adding that Israel's independence is celebrated every day on the Golan Heights. "We do not get confused. The most important archaeological finding is the [ancient Jewish] coin from Gamla And the understanding that people sacrificed their lives in 1967 when they were hoping for the redemption of Jerusalem."

He said that he still meets with Israelis who think it would have been a good idea to give up the Golan Heights in exchange for a peace treaty with Syria, even though Syria has fallen apart and the Heights might have fallen into ISIS or Jebhat al-Nusra's hands. He calls the idea "delusional."