Another in my ongoing posts from Israel:

After we left the Tel Saki Battle Memorial on Monday, we continued north, to the Quneitra Crossing, the only active border crossing between Syria and Israel, manned by U.N. forces.  Several weeks ago Syrian rebels briefly seized the area on the Syrian side, and there still is fighting in the area.

Here is the view of the crossing from the recently opened Israeli Avital Volcanic Park.  There was smoke rising in the distance, but it was hard to capture because of the lighting conditions:

Quneitra Crossing Golan Heights view from Avital Park

(Quneitra Crossing, Golan Heights, view from Avital Volcanic Park)

We then headed to the nearby Golan Heights Wind Farm, which had a better view of the smoke rising from the area:

Golan Heights Wind Farm - map view

(Golan Heights Wind Farm – map view)

Golan Heights Wind Farm - View of Syria

(Golan Heights Wind Farm – View of Syria)

We then drove up to the Cafe Anan restaurant atop Mount Benatal, run by Merom Golan kibbutz.  The name in Hebrew means coffee in the clouds, but also is a play on Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the U.N.

Golan Heights Wind Farm - map view

That spot received notoriety recently when BBC Watch, run by our Golan “guide” Hadar Sela, pointed out how the BBC erroneously called the spot an Israeli “army position” (which it changed after Hadar’s post). These were the only army soldiers we saw up there:

Golan Heights Cafe Anan - Cut Out Soldiers

We then headed to the so-called Valley of Tears, where one of the major tank battles of the 1973 Yom Kippur War was fought.  It’s hard to find on a satellite map, but this geolocation (also here) seems to be right:

Valley of Tears - Golan Heights - Map View

The Heights of Courage (available for free online) by Avigdor Kahalani tells the story of the battle from the view of a participant.  The battle also is the focus of the Prologue to Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears:

At the end of this day the troopers of the Barak and the 7th heard over their unit radio nets a message from Israeli Defense Forces High Command.

YOU HAVE SAVED THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.

And so they had. Yet outside Israel, except for schools in which men learn the profession of arms, this epic battle is strangely unremembered. As in the Six Day War of 1967, the more freewheeling operations in the Sinai were the ones that attracted the excitement and admiration of the world: bridging the Suez, the Battle of the ‘Chinese’ Farm, the encirclement of the Egyptian 3rd Army – this despite the fearful implications of the Golan fighting, which was far closer to home. Still, the survivors of those two brigades knew what they had done, and their officers could revel in the knowledge that among professional soldiers who know the measure of skill and courage that such a stand entails, their Battle for the Heights would be remembered with Thermopylae, Bastogne and Gloucester Hill.

This video explains the overall battle, including interviews with Kahalani :

Original video is hard to come by. This video, narrated only in Hebrew, appears to show an aerial view of the battlefield strewn with destroyed Syrian tanks and APCs:

(Valley of Tears, Golan Heights, Isreal - Destroyed Syrian Tanks screenshot)

(Valley of Tears, Golan Heights, Isreal – Destroyed Syrian Tanks screenshot)

And the capture of a Syrian soldier pulled from a tank:

(Valley of Tears, Golan Heights, Israel - Syrian soldier pulled from tank screenshot)

(Valley of Tears, Golan Heights, Israel – Syrian soldier pulled from tank screenshot)

As with all such battlefields, the setting is eerily serene decades later:

(Valley of Tears Monument, Golan Heights, Israel)

(Valley of Tears Monument, Golan Heights, Israel)

Valley of Tears Monument - Golan Heights - Israeli and Syrian Tanks

(Valley of Tears Monument, Golan Heights, Israel – Israeli and Syrian Tanks)

Valley of Tears Monument - Golan Heights - Tank Cannons

(Valley of Tears Monument, Golan Heights, Israel – Tank Cannons

Valley of Tears Monument - Golan Heights - List of Dead

(Valley of Tears Monument, Golan Heights, Israel – List of Dead)

From there, north to Metula, the Lebanese border, and the “fake” Hezbollah village.  For the next post.

The full series of posts from my trip to Israel:

 
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