The 6 Day War, 1967
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
On This Day in Jewish History: June 5th, 1967
Israel pre-emptively strikes the grounded Egyptian Air Force to spark what one week later would come to be known as the 6 Day War. . .
On this day, the IDF initiated Operation Focus, where 200 planes converged on 18 Egyptian airfields, eliminating 90% of their air force as it lay grounded. Soon after (yet still on the same day) Israel went after the air forces of Jordan and Syria - decimating them as well. By the end of the first day, Israel had complete air control and had begun a ground offensive against the Egyptians in the Sinai. . . .
Its important to note that this war did not happen in a vacuum. The armies of Jordan, Egypt, and Syria had been mobilizing and making treaties for months in preparation for a massive war to wipe Israel off the map "from the river to the sea." Just 25 years earlier, similar genocidal chants and acts had eliminated 6 million Jews - that reality and memory was fresh. Mass graves were being dug around Israel in late May, early June of '67. Fear was thick in the air. Yet, on June 5th, 1967 Israel preemptively attacked their aggressors to ensure different results. A new age in Jewish History had begun. . . .
Stay tuned over the next 6 days as we dive into different key moments of this momentous episode in Jewish history.
June 6th & 7th, 1967
Against incredible odds, Israel defeats Jordanian Forces at Ammunition Hill and the Old City of Jerusalem, The City of David back under Jewish control for the first time in 2,000 years. . . .
Yesterday, on June 6th, Colonel Mordechai Gur was tasked with taking control of Ammunition Hill, a former British ammunition depot and key strategic location located just north of the Old City. Fighting between Israeli Paratroopers and the Jordanian Armed forces was fierce. Made even more difficult by the area's cramped quarters (image 2) and missed intel about of the actual number of Jordanian forces present. The IDF successfully overtook the position at the cost of 56 paratroopers. To this day, this is where the Tzanchanim (paratroopers) unit inductees receive their red berets to join the brigade. . . .
Flash forward 24 hours. June 7th. The biggest complication for the Israeli Defense Forces involved what to do about the Old City.
The IDF had avoided armed conflict there, maneuvering around so as not to devastate any holy sites, Jewish or not. MKs like Menachem Begin insisted the reunification not be put off, while others like Defense Minister Moshe Dayan remained opposed. Not because he thought the IDF lacked the ability of capturing it, but due to the pressure this would create in the ongoing battle in the Sinai with troops leaving the area to assist.
All bets were off when word suddenly came of the possibility of a UN-declared ceasefire. Dayan ordered Gur’s Paratroopers Brigade to take the Old City, lest Israel miss its chance to liberate the Temple Mount and Western Wall. The same group that just one day earlier heroically took Ammunition Hill, made their way south to the Old City. Before even arr
iving, they engaged the Jordanians in another vicious round of fighting. By end of day, the mission was a success, with most of the Old City and her sites left intact. In the Hebrew calendar, this day in 1967 is 28th of Iyar is celebrated as Yom Yerushalayim in Israel. .
June 8th, 1967
Day 4. A UN-brokered ceasefire sets in as Egypt's forces essentially surrender in the Sinai Peninsula. In addition to the Sinai, Israel takes the Gaza Strip which had been under Egyptian control. Meanwhile, with Jerusalem unified, the IDF moved to take other key points in the Judea / Samaria region (West Bank) such as Hebron.
To the north, regardless of the agreed-upon ceasefire, Syrian forces continued to fight in the Golan region. With Egypt out of the war and a diminished Jordanian front, the IDF's focus in the war shifted squarely on securing this northern region of the Galilee & Golan. . . .
Additionally, today, the misconstrued event with the USS Liberty occurred: an American warship was mistakenly destroyed by the IDF based off incorrect intel saying it belonged to the Egyptian Navy.
June 9th, 1967
Day 5. With Egypt and Jordan essentially out of the war, Israel's entire military focus is now in the northern region aimed at the Syrian Military in the Golan Heights. . . .
Intensive aerial and tank battles ensued today as the IDF pushed to take over the key strategic point that is the Golan. Known for beautiful mountain ranges, nature, and Mt.Hermon - this elevation was instrumental in protecting Israel's northern citizens from future Syrian and/or Lebanese aggression. . . .
2 years earlier Eli Cohen provided key intel of this region. Including the planting of the Eucalyptus trees over the Syrian bunkers to "give the soldiers shade" that in wartime turned into targets. Thanks to Eli, Israel moved into the Golan with a heightened sense of confidence and success in their rapid push to take control of the area.
June 10th, 1967
Israel completes the takeover of the Golan Heights after about 48 hours and Syria accepts the general ceasefire. By the end of the day and about 135 hours after Israel pre-emptively attacked Egypt - the fighting had ended and the 6 Day War got its name.
In one week, Israel had gone from digging mass graves and preparing for the worst to tripling in size and solidifying their place as a nation with a defense to be reckoned with. . . .
National pride within Israel and the Jewish community worldwide was at an all time high. Comparatively, Arab nations - particularly Egypt, Jordan, and Syria - were in shock. By the end of '67 they would gather at Khartoum in Sudan to declare their infamous "3 No's" response to the new reality in the Middle East. . .
Such a reality within Israel meant that about a combined 1 million Jordanian, Egyptian, and Syrian Arabs were now absorbed by Israel. Some fled as refugees to neighboring countries while many opted to stay and continue living under Israeli rule.
It's important to note, they were not referred to as "Palestinian" at the time. This doesn't imply anything about their sense of identity as Levantine Arabs, simply stating the fact that the "Palestinian National Identity" began almost as a direct counter-movement to Israel & Zionism three years prior to the 6 Day War. . .
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBJRqRGlBf3/ (Day 2-3)