Six-Day War: Israel History

Tags: History, Soldiers and Defense, Terror

The Six-Day War began on June 5, 1967. After an extended period of hostility and threats from Israel's neighbors, Israel attacked Egypt and Operation Focus began.

Israel was being faced with hostilities from three sides: Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. They had to take a risk and wait to see if the conflicts progressed, or do something to prevent from being wiped off the map, as the Arab nation tried, for now the third time, to eliminate Israel and the Jewish presence in our ancestral homeland, rightfully recognized by international law.

Known in Hebrew as Moked, Operation Focus was a massive defensive airstrike launched by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) under Maj. Gen. Mordechai Hod that destroyed the majority of the Egyptian Air Force on the ground.

A Mirage plane taking off from an Israeli Air Force base during Operation Focus

Within the brief span of six days, the IDF overran the whole Sinai peninsula, up to the Suez Canal; took the entire West Bank of the River Jordan; and in the last days, without the benefit of surprise, captured a great part of the Golan Heights, including the dominant Mount Hermon - from then on "the eyes and ears of Israel" for the Northern front against continued assaults by Syria, Lebanon and Iran-backed Hezbollah.

By noon on that same day, June 5th, the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian Air Forces, with about 450 aircraft, were destroyed. The Operation managed to successfully disable 18 airfields in Egypt, hindering Egyptian Air Force operations for the duration of the war and remains, to this day, one of the most successful air attack campaigns in military history.

The culminating event was the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem and the re-encounter with the place most revered by Jews, the Western (Wailing) Wall.

Israeli paratroopers stand in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem June 1967. Copyright  David Rubinger GPO

Israeli paratroopers stand in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem June 1967. Copyright David Rubinger GPO

The blowing of the shofar at the Western Wall reverberated throughout the world and by June 10, Israel had completed its final offensive in the Golan Heights, and a ceasefire was signed the day after.

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty is the commemoration of a 2000 year old dream, made a reality: Jerusalem and the Temple Mount at her center, the heart of our people, returned to the people.


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Tags: History, Soldiers and Defense, Terror