(JNS) It’s easy for archaeologists to detach themselves from ancient finds, but the discovery of a brass compass from a massacre of 35 Israeli soldiers in 1948 left two researchers feeling like they received a “punch in the stomach.”
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday the discovery of the compass from what Israeli history calls “The Battle of the 35” during the War of Independence, known in Hebrew as the story of the Lamed Heh (35 in Hebrew alphabetic numerals).
The story of the compass begins on January 16, 1948, when a convoy of 38 men from the Haganah, the primary paramilitary organization of pre-state Israel, set out to deliver supplies to besieged Jewish communities in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. Three men returned early after one sprained an ankle and couldn’t continue.
The convoy was detected by Arabs who cut off the convoy. After an all-day fight, the Jews ran out of ammunition. The Arabs killed and mutilated all 35 people in the convoy. The massacre and mutilation became known in Israeli history as “The Convoy of 35.”
After the war, the bodies were recovered and reburied at the Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem.