Azaryahu, Maoz. “Wrecks to Relics: Battle Remains and the Formation of a Battlescape, Sha’ar HaGai, Israel.” In Memory, Place and Identity: Commemoration and Remembrance of War and Conflict (ed. Danielle Drozdzewski, Sarah De Nardi, and Emma Waterton; Abingdon, UK and New York: Routledge, 2016).
Beyond prior knowledge about the association of the relics with history, their interpretation and evaluation in terms of memory and legacy is a matter of perspective based on particular ideological premises. Writing about his bus ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 1994, the travel writer Paul Theroux mentioned these relics: ‘Old-fashioned armored cars and rusty trucks had been left by the roadside as memorials to the men who had died in what the Israelis call the War of Liberation. The vehicles, so old, so clumsy, roused pity.’ To Theroux the relics ‘roused pity’. In Israeli patriotic culture they have been associated with heroic sacrifice, evoking veneration and respect. Despite their repeated relocations in the local landscape, the authenticity they exude substantially augments their symbolic capacity to conflate the historical battlefield at Bab el Wad and the contemporary battlescape at Sha’ar HaGai.