Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cable Car Story - you gotta see this!!

I just have to tell you this amazing story about the cable car that was used in the 1948 War of Independence, and you will see why in just a minute (so read to the end!!) What you are looking at here is a cable car attached to the Mount Zion hotel, which is across the Hinnom valley from our campus. Here's the story:

In December of 1948, in the midst of Israel`s War of Independence, inventor Uriel Hefetz came up with an idea of a cable car to connect Mt Zion (which is where I am) and the hill to its west (across the Hinnom Valley). This provided a crucial solution to the problem of transferring provisions and ammunition to Jewish fighters on Mt Zion and was code named "Absalom`s Way".

The plan included extending a 200m steel cord above the Hinnom Valley, which would link up the Israeli post on Mt Zion and the one in the St John ophthalmic hospital (today the Mt Zion Hotel).
A small car, designed to carry some 250kg of equipment, dangled from the cord, at a maximum height of 50m above the valley floor. The cord would be extended every night, and taken down every morning, to avoid getting hit by Jordanian snipers.

The Cable Car Museum is located in the very room out of which the cable car was operated. The permanent exhibition includes periodical photos and documents.
 Picture of the Museum.
Picture of the cable car dangling just outside the museum.

Now picture this: Six soldiers stand in the dark, moving silently. Three are outside of the western side of the Old City. Three more soldiers stand across the wadi. Stretched between them is a 200 meter long steel cable with a small cable car on it that can hold approximately half a ton. It makes a trip in the dead of night, under the cover of darkness. Supplies go to the Old City. An injured soldier is brought back. Troops are reinforced.

The cable car which supplied the Old City during the Independence War remained a secret, even from the public, until 1972. Today, its story is told in the Cable Car Museum in the Mount Zion Hotel.
 Display on the wall of the Museum.  All of the above pictures and description I got off the internet.  Now, all of the following pictures I took with my own camera:
 This is a picture of the cable that goes through MY BEDROOM, and is anchored in the hallway of our dorm.
 Here the cable goes through the wall right next to my bedroom window.
 Now you see the cable coming out of the wall of my bedroom, stretching over the campus.
 I know you can't see it well here, but the cable is stretching though the vines and leaves across campus.
This is a zoomed-in pic I took across the fence of our campus (it is actually looks further away than this) of the cable leaving our campus, stretching across the valley over to the Mt. Zion hotel, which used to be the St. John Eye hospital, from where they would send the weapons, supplies, and where they might receive the wounded soldiers.
Still more zoomed in, there's the cable car!!
So what this means is that JUC was used as an Israeli military outpost, and I am sleeping in the very room where the Israeli army, during the War of Independance in 1948, unbeknownst to the Jordanians, received the secret cable car supplies at night and/or sent back the wounded (or killed) soldiers to the other side. 

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