"Road of Heroism" Monument Medal

"Heroism Monument to the Forgers of the Way to Jerusalem" / "Road of Heroism Monument" medal (ND), 1948-49; minted in silver by "Aurum" company; weight: 5.6g; size (medal + 1st ring): 28.5mm x 39mm.

The medal is of trapezoid shape and depicts what is known as the "Heroism Road Monument", with legend in English "Monument to the Heroes of Jerusalem" on either side.  On the monument, in Hebrew at top is the Biblical quotation "If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem May My Right Hand Forget its Cunning" with the IDF's emblem above, and further below among the bricks the words "Monument to the Forgers of the Way to Jerusalem" ("Gilad LePortzei Yerushalayim").

At left top is the number "17" inside the Hebrew letter "Mem" (perhaps meaning "Factory 17" - "Mifal 17"). The reverse is plain apart from the manufacturer's triangular stamp with "Product of Israel" in Hebrew and the text "silver 835".

This is not an official Israeli Army medal, but it may have been issued privately to those involved in either the construction of the road to Jerusalem (which involved several foreign volunteers in the IDF - "Machal" members), or in the erection of the monument (1948).

The erection of the monument crowns a vital achievement of the time: the completion of a bypass route to besieged Jerusalem, whose only route till then was the Latrun road (at that time, in spite of numerous Israeli attempts to capture it, in Jordanian Arab Legion control). The bypass originated as an plan of Col. David Marcus, called the "Burma Road"  which was a dust road, rocky and winding and difficult to traverse, so a parallel wider road was built further south between September and December 1948, known as the "Road of Heroism" ("Kvish HaGvura").

The creation of the road was vital to Jewish Jerusalem's survival and so - in national spirit - to all of Israel, as evidenced by the stature of the event: the Chief of Staff and the Prime Minister/Minister of Defense David Ben-Gurion attended the foundation of the monument's keystone (7 Dec. 1948), and in his address said "The road we are inaugurating today is the embodiment of the apex of wartime effort for the homeland and independence because by it is connected the most tragic as well as the most heroic battle since we were forced to stand at the gates before our numerous enemies - the battle for Jerusalem".

The monument is one of a series now maintained by the Engineers Corps of the IDF.

More info in Hebrew on this road and the monument:

http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/כביש_הגבורה

http://www.handasa.org.il/show_item.asp?itemId=61&levelId=44099&itemType=0

With thanks to the seller of this item: www.historama.com

 

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