Ayalon Institute – Awesome!

May 17th 2011

Ayalon Institute Museum 2 Ayalon Institute   Awesome!Stories of the kibbutzniks that came up with ingenious ideas for how to fortify their homeland are enough to take our breath away. Add in a secret operation underground to make a bullet factory for an upcoming expected war, posing as a bakery, and you’ve got the stuff that wins Academy Awards for its sensational dramatic effect.

This is no fictional account of heroism. Unbelievably, it happened, and if you are traveling in Israel between Nes Ziona and Rehovot, you will find the same bullet factory located on Kibbutz Hill.
The Haganah in 1945 was wary of what would happen once the British exited what was then Palestine, leaving the Jews to fend for themselves against the Arabs. Rather than simply fear the upcoming terror, members of the Hagganah decided to do something about it; and that something turned into an extremely productive bullet factory.

The problem, however, was that the kibbutz could not let the British in on their secret. Digging a large opening 8 meters underground they built the foundations for a bullet factory that employed 45 workers. It was impossible for the British to know that beneath their large 10 ton bakery oven ( they operated a legitimate kibbutz bakery) was the opening to the underground factory where they got the bullet machines lowered into. The laundry machine ( they also operated a commercial laundry) was on a pivot that opened to stairs for the factory workers to walk down. Funnily enough, the nearby stationed British even brought their laundry to be cleaned at their business! Talk about run beneath their noses!
When the British questioned the kibbutz on their request for so much copper to be imported in, they responded that they needed it to make lipstick holders.

So under wraps was the project, even family members who would visit the kibbutz had no idea that their relatives were involved in a high-profile undercover mission.

One additional technical difficulty: Kibbutzniks, living in the hot Israeli sun, should have had deep, sun-enriched tans. For those working long hours in the basement of the bullet factory, their skin was very pale. The solution: sitting in front of lamps in order to make their skin shine from the artificial light.
And in the end, all was worth it. Between the years of 1942 and 1948, the Ayalon bullet factory produced 2.25 million bullets that were used in the War of Independence. At the top of their production days, the factory was up to making 40,000 bullets a day. The impact of the Ayalon bullet factory speaks for itself, with the state of Israel as a redeemed homeland for the Jewish people, giving you the precious opportunity to vacation in Israel.

You must go see it for yourself. If on a private Israeli group tour or just with a few members of your family, reservations are required. Comprehensive English tours are given by Israeli tour guides.


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