January 5th 2015
The Latrun Police Station was built on a strategic hilltop amid the foothills of Judea in the early 1940s, when the British ruled Israel. Today, the Latrun Police Station serves as a memorial site for all those who lost their lives fighting both for Israeli access to Jerusalem and for independence.
The station also houses the Armored Brigade Museum in which 120 armored vehicles, once used in battle, are on display. Today, the amphitheater on the site is used for assemblies of current Armored Corps soldiers, gatherings on Israel’s Memorial Day and civilian events such as graduations, concerts and cultural performances.
Upon arrival, visitors can enjoy a short documentary that provides a comprehensive explanation of the various battles that were fought in the area. Throughout history, the location surrounding the Latrun Police Station, located just off the main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, has been a significant battleground. As described in the Book of Joshua, the Hebrews conquered the Amorite nation here. Later, King David defeated the Philistines in this area. Still later, the area was the site of further battles, as first the Egyptians, then the Maccabees and eventually the Crusaders attempted to advance their forces towards Jerusalem.
In more recent history, the location is best known for a series of bloody battles during the War of Independence in 1948. During that conflict, the residents of Jerusalem and the fighting forces stationed there were cut off from the rest of the country. The Israeli army and the Arab armies fought over control of the road that offered access to Jerusalem. The Zionists staged at least five different attempts to wrest control of the road, and the Latrun Police Station fortress, from Arab hands. Each attempt failed, and many lives were lost under fierce fighting conditions.
Between the second and third attempts to open the road to Jerusalem, an alternative passage was discovered, and a secondary road was built. Inspired by the Burma Road into China, this bypass road is also known as the Burma Road. During the Six Day War of 1967, the area was liberated from Jordanian rule and returned to Israeli control.