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 Holiday Central > Yom Ha'atzmaut > Bab El Wad

Sha'ar HaGai or Bab El-Wad (Hebrew: שער הגיא‎ or Hebrew: באב אל-ואד‎, lit. Gate of the Valley) is a point on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, 23 km from Jerusalem, where the road begins to ascend into a gorge between cliffs.

Bab-el-Wad saw fierce fighting during the Israel's War of Independence of 1948. Jordanian Arab Legion blockaded this route to Jerusalem and attacked the Jewish convoys carrying food, water, and ammunition to the sieged city. On April 20, the Arabs recaptured the heights around Sha'ar HaGai, closing the Tel Aviv road.

The Israeli forces, led by Col. Yitzchak Rabin, the future prime minister of Isrel, leading the Palmach 10th (Harel) brigade captured some of the, but most of the road to Jerusalem remained under Arab control.

In order to bypass the road, the Burma Road was constructed (named after the World War II road into China), a round-about way, safely distanced from the Arab fighters, connected Jerusalem again to the rest of the country. After 1967 Six-Day-War, the Latrun area was recaptured, and today the main Tel-Aviv–Jerusalem highway, passes through Sha-ar HaGai, and service the citizens of Israel.

Rusted armored cars that were destroyed in their attempt to reach Jerusalem during the siege on the city in the1948 war line the route to commemorate the times and the heroes that gave their lives in the attempt to save the holy city and its besiged Jewish inhabitants. The 119 Jewish fighters that fell in the line of duty in the Bab-el-Wad/Sha-ar Hagai skirmishes are also honored with the Machal Memorial Monument.

A famous song recounting the story of Bab-el-Wad and its Jewish Heroes is still to this day

LYRICS Chayim Guri MUSIC Shmuel Farshko SINGER Yaffa Yarkoni, Shoshana Damari, and others
(Yaffa Yarkoni -


Lyrics: Chayim Guri
Music: Shmuel Farshko

Po ani over, nitzav li ad ha even.
Kvish asfalt shachor, slayim urechasim.
Erev at yored, ruach yam noshevet,
Or kochav rishon m'ever Beit Maschir.

Lanetzach z'chor na et shmoteinu,
Shayarot partzu baderech el ha-ir.
Betzidei haderech mutalim meteinu,
Sheled habarzel shotek kmo re-i.

Po shatzfu bashemesh zefet ve oferet,
Po avru leylot be esh vesakinim,
Po shochnim beyachad etzev vetiferet,
Meshurian charuch veshem shel almoni.

Chorus: Bab-el-Wad

Va-ani holech, over kan cheresh, cheresh,
Va ani zocher otam, echad, echad,
Kan lachamnu yachad, al tzukim veteresh,
Kan hayinu yachad mishpacha achat.

Chorus: Bab-el-Wad

Yom aviv yavo,
rakafot tifrachna,
Odem kalanit ba ar ubamorad.
Ze, asher yilech baderech shealachnu,
Al ishkach otanu, otanu, Bab-el-Wad.

באב אל וואד
מילים: חיים גורי
לחן: שמואל פרשקו

פה אני עובר, ניצב ליד האבן
כביש אספלט שחור, סלעים ורכסים
ערב אט יורד, רוח ים נושבת
אור כוכב ראשון מעבר בית מחסיר

באב אל וואד
לנצח זכור נא את שמותינו
שיירות פרצו בדרך אל העיר
בצידי הדרך מוטלים מתינו
שלד הברזל שותק כמו רעי

פה שצפו בשמש זפת ועופרת
פה עברו לילות באש וסכינים
פה שוכנים ביחד עצב ותפארת
משוריין חרוך ושם של אלמוני

...באב אל וואד

ואני הולך, עובר כאן חרש חרש
ואני זוכר אותם אחד אחד
כאן לחמנו יחד על צוקים וטרש
כאן היינו יחד משפחה אחת

...באב אל וואד

יום אביב יבוא ורקפות תפרחנה
אודם כלנית בהר ובמורד
זה אשר ילך בדרך שהלכנו
אל ישכח אותנו, אותנו באב אל וואד

Bab-el-Wad  -- English translation

LYRICS: Chayim Guri
MUSIC: Shmuel Farshko

Here I am passing, standing by the stone.
An asphalt road, rocks and ridges.
Day goes down slowly, sea-wind blows
Light of a first star, over Beit Maschir.

Chorus: Bab-el-Wad
Do remember our names forever,
Convoys broke through, on the way to the City.
Our dead lay on the road edges.
The iron skeleton is silent like my comrade.

Here pitch and lead fumed under the sun,
Here nights passed with fire and knives.
Here sorrow and glory live together
With a burnt armored car and the name of an unknown.

Chorus: Bab-el-Wad . . . 

And I walk, passing here silently,
And I remember them, one by one.
Here we fought together on cliffs and boulders
Here we were one family.

Chorus: Bab-el-Wad . . .

A spring day will come, the cyclamens will bloom,
Red of anemone on the mountain and on the slope.
He, who will go on the road we went,
He will not forget us, Bab-el-Wad.


Mazor Guide to Yom Haatzmaut brings you much more about the holiday, its meaning and its traditions... See the links below.

MazorGuide Recommended Reading

Letters from Jerusalem 1947-1948 (Paperback)
~ by Zipporah Porath

Battleground: Fact & Fantasy in Palestine (Paperback)
~ by Samuel Katz



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