…Less known is the modest operation carried out under unusually hard conditions – the first production of Jewish weapons in Eretz Israel. I doubt if there was a more heroic enterprise in the Yishuv, or any other operation involving such constant mortal danger, as the concealed and secret work of Ta’as, and I do not know which was greater, their modesty or their valor…”
~ David Ben Gurion on Ta’as, 1953
Don’t miss the fascinating in-depth article, The Modesty and Valor of the Ayalon Institute
Reflections of the Ayalon Institute and Jewish Resistance
After my profound visit to Israel – visiting the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, Masada, the Old City, the City of David, the Ayalon Institute, and other places that told the story of the Jewish fight for survival, the strongest feeling I came away with was my admiration of Jewish ingenuity, strength, cohesiveness, organization, and perseverance, and the pride of being Jewish. I was spellbound by the stories of Jewish suffering and survival, of so many people and countries and empires determined to destroy the Jewish people over the centuries and millenia and still today. I am on a quest now to learn about (and possibly tell) as many stories as I can about Jewish resistance, because the story of the Jewish people is a story of a people who have survived remarkable odds.
The Ayalon Institute is one of these many, many stories of Jewish resistance and survival. The Ayalon Institute was a clandestine underground bullet-making factory built in 1945, but a brain-child that was formulated in 1929, when it was determined that Eretz Israel needed a defense force including bullets. 45 High School students who had idealistic plans to start their own kibbutz were recruited for the dangerous and secret task of making bullets. In three years, they made 2.25 million bullets working in 10 hour shifts. Some of these bullets were used for conflicts before 1948, but most of the bullets were used at the end of the British Mandate and the creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. On May 15, 1948, Israel was attacked by the five neighboring Arab countries of Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, determined to destroy the new country. It was the bullets made at the Ayalon Institute and distributed to soldiers throughout the country that helped Israel to win the war. Israel not only held onto the 5,600 square miles allotted to it by the UN partition plan, but seized an additional 2,500 square miles.
Fitting the Ayalon Institute Into Our Jam-Packed Itinerary
My mother-in-law, Linda, planned an extensive and exhaustive itinerary for us while we were in Israel. We were on the run from morning til night (this is TOTALLY not a complaint – it was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME and I’d do almost the exact itinerary again!) There were many days we didn’t have lunch and often we didn’t have time for dinner til 10 at night. The itinerary shown in Israel Part 1 is what we did. Then there’s the itinerary of everything that we were hoping to do (we got to at least 85% of it).
On our second Wednesday in Israel while we were in Tel Aviv, it was on our itinerary to visit the Ayalon Institute on Kibbutzim Hill. We had never heard of it before and didn’t know anything about it, so when Daniel got an ear infection and we spent the morning at the doctor, and since we had Caesaria and the Alona Water Tunnels on the schedule that day, the Ayalon Institute dropped off the map. We just couldn’t fit it in and that day we were heading north to Haifa. But Linda stressed that we must visit the Ayalon Institute, and we heard that our nephew, Yosef, loved it. After Mike read about it in our Fodor’s book, we became intrigued.
It turned out that we couldn’t have visited that Wednesday anyway because you can’t just show up and you need to call in advance to make reservations. We were able to make a reservation for Saturday, July 8, 2012, our last full day in Israel. The great part about going on a Saturday was that Kenny and Amir were able to join us with their friends, Hanita, Alon, and their son.
It was HOT HOT HOT that day in Tel Aviv. Oh my goodness! After being in the Negev Desert a few days earlier, it should have felt like a refreshing day, but it was HOT! (but still not as hot as the 110 degrees in Ein Gedi and Masada).
Somehow, by the end of that day, we fit in the Ayalon Institute, lunch, The Mount of Olives, walking around the Old City again, and a late dinner at Kenny and Amir’s.
Don’t miss the fascinating in-depth article, The Modesty and Valor of the Ayalon Institute.
Pictures From my Visit to the Ayalon Institute