September 13th 2010
Prior to the Six Day War of 1967, Tel Facher was the strongest and most important Syrian base in the northern Golan Heights. For several decades, Syrian guns on Tel Faher dominated and terrorized the entire region. During the Six Day War, however, Israeli troops fought one of the fiercest battles in Israel’s military history, determined to retake the base and thus end the Syrian stranglehold over Israeli citizens. Today, the site is known as Mitzpe Golani or Golani Lookout, renamed for the Israeli Defense Force’s infantry brigade whose soldiers fought and died for this base.
As you’ll learn while touring the site, the battle here lasted for five hours and was a deadly one for nearly every Golani soldier who participated. Israeli hands did eventually capture the mountaintop base, but the country paid a very high price for that victory. Thirty-two soldiers were killed in the process. One of the most dramatic stories from the battle for Tel Faher is that of Private David Shirazi, who lay himself across a barbed wire fence and told his comrades to use his body as a bridge. He was killed shortly after the last soldier made it across. Four soldiers were later decorated with medals of valor for their bravery.
A highlight of any visit to the base is the monument and impressive memorial that were built to honor the memories of the Golani soldiers who fell here nearly 50 years ago. Look for the yellow and green Golani Battalion flag flying beside the flag of Israel. Note the Star of David pattern in the ironwork that supports the central memorial and the low memorial wall that lists the names of the fallen soldiers.
Guided tours of the site are available, and visitors can listen to recorded commentary, available in English and Hebrew. For those who prefer, it is also possible to wander around the well-marked Syrian trench system and walk through the narrow, well-fortified bunkers. With the exception of adding the memorial, the military features of the site have not been reconstructed since the moment of capture in 1967. Since the base is located so high in the Golan, you’ll also be able to take in magnificent views of the region and the grandness of the Hula Valley below.