Israel restores a scrawl from its past
JERUSALEM — The Israeli government has restored graffiti alongside a busy highway decades after it was removed as an eyesore, saying the scrawled Hebrew words were worth preserving as an important remnant of the war that led to the country’s independence.
The graffiti, left on at old pumping station by an Israeli soldier during fierce battles around the road to Jerusalem, read, “Palmach Baruch Jamili P.T. 1948!’’
The Palmach was an elite strike force that fought in the two-year war that followed Israel’s creation in 1948. Baruch Jamili was the soldier’s name, and “P.T.’’ stood for his hometown, Petah Tikvah.
The exclamation mark, intentionally or not, appeared to express something of the urgency of the fighting, which saw the newly created state of Israel defeat Palestinian Arabs and the armies of surrounding Arab states at the cost of 6,000 men and women, 1 percent of Israel’s Jewish population at the time.
The building’s owner, Israel’s water company, erased the graffiti in 1984. The government and the utility commissioned an artist to replicate it for the country’s Memorial Day and Independence Day this week.