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Pigeons, winged warriors that helped Israel to victory 70 years ago

From Reuters - April 17, 2018

GIVAT BRENNER, Israel (Reuters) - The cooing of pigeons fills the air once again in a secluded dovecot that was once part of a top-secret communications project during Israels war with its Arab neighbors 70 years ago.

It housed carrier pigeons, which delivered critical messages from the battlefield to Israeli military headquarters during the 1948 war after the new state declared independence and was attacked by the armies of countries including Syria, Egypt and Jordan.

As Israel prepares for its Independence Day celebrations, starting at sundown on Wednesday, the recently restored dovecot in Kibbutz Givat Brenner is today an educational center devoted to the winged warriors.

This is the only thing that was left, and we thought that this is a great place to tell the story, said Tal Ben Nun of The Society for Preservation of Israels Heritage Sites.

It has used 600,000 shekels (about $170,000) given by the defense ministry and Prime Ministers office to restore the site. Kibbutz Givat Brenner was founded by Jewish immigrants from Europe in 1928. It lies between Ashdod and Tel Aviv, just north of where Egyptian forces reached after invading from the Sinai in 1948.

Lacking communication devices during the war, the Israeli forces relied on a clandestine network of 68 dovecots spread across the country, and ran pigeoneer courses for soldiers, Ben Nun said.

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