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Historic War of Independence bullet unearthed in Jerusalem

It's one of more than 2 million manufactured at the Ayalon Institute • Ayalon Institute Museum director: "These bullets were the sole ammunition never in short supply during the War of Independence"

The "A" and "E" engravings marking the Sten-type submachine-gun bullet as belonging to the Ayalon Institute. Credit: Jewish National Fund-USA.
The "A" and "E" engravings marking the Sten-type submachine-gun bullet as belonging to the Ayalon Institute. Credit: Jewish National Fund-USA.

A bullet produced at a secret ammunition factory during the Jewish fight for independence in the 1940s was recently unearthed in Jerusalem.

The 9mm bullet was manufactured at the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot, which was disguised as a kibbutz laundry service in the years leading up to the War of Independence in British Mandate Palestine. The factory played a pivotal role in the 1948 victory that created the modern State of Israel. It was run by the Haganah, the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces.

The Ayalon Institute in Rehovot, Israel. Credit: Jewish National Fund-USA.

The bullet was identified as coming from the Ayalon Institute by the engraving of the letters “A” and “E” on its base—A for Ayalon and E for the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael).

The Ammunition Hill National Site in Jerusalem initiated the search of the historic battlefield there with volunteers using metal detectors to uncover artifacts from the 1948 War of Independence and the 1967 Six-Day War.

The bullet was found in a part of Ammunition Hill called the Governor’s Palace complex, which houses the historic study farm.

A handover ceremony was held on Aug. 17 at the Ayalon Institute, with an Ammunition Hill delegation led by CEO Keteri Maoz. The bullet is slated to become part of the Ayalon Institute Museum’s permanent exhibition in the newly inaugurated lobby that was realized in partnership with Jewish National Fund-USA.

The bullet handover ceremony at the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot, Israel. Credit: Jewish National Fund-USA.

“From our vantage point, this is an event of historic magnitude,” said Rani Oren, Ayalon Institute Museum director.

“The 9mm bullets, exclusively manufactured at the Ayalon Institute for the Sten-type submachine gun, significantly fortified the country’s defense and development. Notably, these bullets were the sole ammunition never in short supply during the War of Independence,” said Oren.

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