It was my first trip to Israel in 1970. I was staying at my cousin's house in Kfar Saba, and was touring the country. I even made a trip to Amatzia and visited Big Benny and his family - first time I ever shot an Uzi. I seem to remember making a side trip to Kiryat Ono to drop in on the Heimowitz', and to Ramat Raziel to visit the Sprungs.
So, I decided to stay at the Betar Bayit for a few days - Avi Lipkin was there also. The place was still being built and the courtyard was open to the sky. It was around Tisha' B'Av and all of a sudden we hear this horrific noise coming down Rechov Ha'Yehudim - we look around and there is Jacques Kupfer leading a bunch of French Betarim in full uniform. The next day they decided they were going to have a Misdar on Har HaBayit in full Tilboshet. We went to a local stop for breakfast - I was invited to come along. After breakfast we make our way up to Har Ha'Bayit and Jacques holds his Misdar right in front of the Dome of the Rock - what a sight. Well, once the police realized what was going on they started to break it up. Jacques took his time - then marched everyone off. We're lucky that we did not get arrested.
While staying at the Bayit Avi Lipkin decides he would like to go to Hevron, so we took the Arab bus from the Damascus gate. We got there as the soldiers were checking the place out before opening up After our visit Avi decides we were going to walk back - so we stopped in Kiryat Arba then off we went - to the Keremizan Winery and then back to Jerusalem crossing the railroad tracks- what was I thinking!
In 2001 my wife and I were back in Jerusalem when our son was on the Young Judaea Year Course and we made it a point to see if the Bayit was still there. The lower level had been taken over by the army and it was an education center. The couple of soldiers I spoke to had no idea what Betar was! I think there were some Betarim living upstairs but I was unable to make contact.
One day while I was taking the bus back to K'far Saba a passenger noticed my Shtei Gadot and we struck up a conversation. Turns out he was Elke Chupak's fiance and he invited me to the wedding in Tzur Natan. David and Elinoar Sprung picked me up in K'far Saba and off we went - my first Israeli/Betar wedding. I remember the Ariav's and the Kerstien's being there.