What Does an Old Crusaders Castle in Lebanon Have to do With the IDF?
The Beaufort Castle in Lebanon has been around for nearly a millennium, serving as a key strategic point in the area. How is that relevant to Israel? Read on, and find out!
So like we mentioned, the #Beaufort is an ancient Crusaders castle. The Crusaders conquered the place in 1139, and it has been reconquered several times over the years. But let's get to where we come in! In 1943, Lebanon received its independence, and that's where the real action began.
In the 1970s, the PLO had established its hold in the south of Lebanon, and they turned Beaufort Castle into a key strategic spot. From that point, there is a clear view of the north of Israel and the whole southern region of Lebanon. The Fatah terrorists would fire rockets from the castle into Israeli territory, eventually leading up to the First Lebanon War.
During the war, #Golani special forces had conquered the castle, unfortunately losing six of its men in battle. As a result of the war, the IDF had conquered the south of Lebanon, and the area was turned into the Security Strip. Israel understood the strategic value of the castle, and a serious army post was set up on the hill, right near the castle. Israeli soldiers were actually forbidden from going near the castle. Why do you ask? Well, not for any reason you're thinking of! They were told there was a risk of contracting relapsing fever, an illness caused by bacteria.
The Beaufort was under the IDF's control for 14 years, until the withdrawal from Lebanon in May of 2000. The army post was in a very dangerous spot, and Hezbollah would constantly fire rockets at it, and boobytrap the roads around it. On the eve of the withdrawal, the IDF filled the army post with explosives and blew up the post, so it wouldn't fall into Hezbollah's hands. The operation was executed perfectly, without damaging the remains of the ancient castle.
In 2005, Israeli author Ron Leshem released the book If there is a Heaven, which tells the story of an IDF platoon serving in the Beauford post, during the last two years of the Israeli Security Strip in southern Lebanon. The book was eventually adapted into a movie by Joseph Cedar, which gained much popularity and was even nominated for an Oscar in 2008.
Next time you need some good Israeli history tidbits, impress everyone with your facts about this ancient and central castle to Israel's success!