Black Arrow Memorial (Khets Shahor)
The Black Arrow Memorial memorial complex is located near Kibbutz Mefalsim, west of road No. 232, at a distance of several kilometers from the border with the Gaza Strip.
This memorial complex commemorates the retaliatory operations of the Israel Defense Forces, which were undertaken in response to numerous terrorist attacks on Israeli territory from 1950 to 1956. These terrorist attacks were carried out by terrorists trained in the Gaza Strip; retaliatory actions by the IDF were also carried out in Gaza.
The creators of the memorial paid special attention to the legendary unit 101.
It was formed in 1953, by the end of the same year it joined the 890th paratrooper battalion, but in its short history it managed to make many daring sorties into enemy territory. The creator of this part was 25-year-old Major Ariel Sharon. Unit 101 managed to reverse the depressive atmosphere that then prevailed in the IDF, which was forced to defend a country with borders that existed only on the map and did not have the necessary experience or commanders capable of countering terrorist attacks.
The memorial complex bears the name of one of these operations – “Black Arrow”, carried out by the IDF in August 1954.
This operation, called “Black Arrow”, was caused by the need to curb Palestinian terror and directed against the Egyptian army, which at that time controlled the Gaza Strip.
In those years, in the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian army formed sabotage detachments from Fedayeen Palestinians, trained them in guerrilla warfare tactics, supplied them with weapons and ammunition, and sent them to carry out terrorist attacks on Israeli territory.
In order to stop the terror by responding to every terrorist attack, the legendary “Unit 101” was formed under the command of Ariel Sharon. It included the best fighters of the IDF, who underwent special training and became the first Israeli special forces unit. Later, other special forces were created, including the airborne, which carried out retaliation operations one after another. However, it was not possible to completely stop the terror.
Overall, Operation Black Arrow was a huge success. But the Israelis returned, carrying on their shoulders the bodies of the dead and wounded. In Gaza, 8 soldiers of the 890th battalion, including Saadia Elyakim and Michael Kerten, laid down their lives, 12 more were injured. The losses of the Egyptians were much more significant: several dozen killed and wounded.
The complex tells about all operations of retribution
Each operation is dedicated to a large stone stele. Each monument has the opportunity to listen to information in different languages, including Russian.
The observation platform, made in the form of a black arrowhead, is located in close proximity to Gaza – this is the closest point of a safe view of the border with Gaza.
The memorial complex is built in the form of an arrow, the tip of which is made of black marble. The marble is polished to a mirror shine, and the arrow no longer seems black: the polished marble reflects the sky and the clouds floating on it – the sky where the souls of the dead soldiers go. Maybe they are the ones who float in clouds over the still unpeaceful border with Gaza …