Shaare Zedek’s War: Fifty Years Since Jerusalem Was Reunified, A Look Back at Shaare Zedek’s Role in the Six Day War
The Six Day War changed the course of Jewish history. When it was over, Jerusalem was no longer a divided city and the Temple Mount was in Jewish hands for the first time in two millennia. But as the fighting raged, Shaare Zedek, then located in its original home on Jaffa Road, was the hospital closest to the combat — just a few short kilometers from the front and under frequent Jordanian fire. The following is a brief account from the Hospital’s archive, including material that was previously published.
In the early hours of Monday, June 5th, 1967, the telephone hotline from Israel’s military headquarters rang at Shaare Zedek. It was a short conversation, not lasting longer than 15 seconds. Neither did it take long for the Hospital’s well-oiled “State of Emergency” apparatus to begin to move at full speed. Phones soon rang at the homes of the hospital’s administrative and medical staff. Ambulances rushed out of the gate with urgent messages. Dr. Falk Schlesinger, the hospital’s director-general, arrived inside minutes.
Activity was intense. Groups of volunteers began to take up pre-assigned duties. The emergency generator was activated. Windows were covered with blackout material, sandbags strategically placed. Beds replaced desks. Even the hospital’s main corridors were soon lined with extra beds and stretchers. Ambulances and volunteers with their private cars swiftly evacuated many civilian patients whose release papers had been prepared by the doctors with detailed instructions for treatment at home — just in case.
The Brith Milah Hall, classrooms in the School of Nursing and the nurses’ own dormitories were soon converted into emergency wards. Basement areas were emptied to become shelters. Arrangements were made for volunteers from Shaare Zedek’s Ladies Auxiliary to care for more >