Six Days of Miracles

Forty-four years ago Israel fought for its life, and not only survived but improved its security situation dramatically. In addition, it liberated Jerusalem and the Kotel (the Western Wall) and Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria). Many say that winning the war was miraculous, and it was. As Orthodox Jews we believe that G-d gives people special gifts – whether it is brains, or strength, or courage – and it is obligatory for us to use these gifts in order to help ourselves and others. The brains and strength and courage that the IDF soldiers used to fight and win the war so long ago were gifts used at an especially dangerous time for Israel. Many people don’t know this, but the Israelis were so afraid of massive casualties, that they dug graves in the public parks in preparation for war. G-d helped also – it is inexplicable to me why the Arabs didn’t coordinate their forces to attack at the same time, which would have made it much harder for the Israelis to win.

Some “basic” history first. The Jewish Virtual Library has a good background here. I learned some things for the first time, including the fact that the French (no surprise) and the Americans (a big surprise) imposed an arms embargo on Israel at the time. Israel fought for its life alone – except for G-d of course. I also did not know that Israel asked Jordan not to attack, but they did not listen. I wonder what would have happened if they had listened – would we still be blocked from going to the Kotel? Camera provides a succinct timeline for the events leading up to the war. The reunification of Jerusalem is detailed here. The Arab refusal to admit its defeat and its refusal to negotiate for peace (which has lasted until this day) is described here.

For those military buffs out there, the History channel did a special on the Six Day War as part of its Battlefield Detectives series. I watched it all (and I am not a military buff!) and found it fascinating. I didn’t know that the Israelis had such extensive intelligence, that the IDF knew where the real Egyptian planes were parked and where the dummies were parked. The Israelis also knew when the airforce would be at its most vulnerable – not at dawn, which conventional warfare says, but later in the morning, when the airforce let down its guard. I also didn’t know what “flying under the radar” really meant in those days – flying at less than 100 feet!!! G-d also helped the pilots that day, because there was absolutely no wind – every bomb hit its target. I also learned about the spy Eli Cohen’s (z’l, may his memory be a blessing)contribution to Israel’s taking over the Golan Heights.

Now for some video: footage from the war including air strikes and tank attacks. Parts of it are set to music that I know by heart, from my kids’ favorite movie….

Video with both scenes and audio from the IDF’s capture of Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) interspersed with modern pictures of people at the Kotel (Western Wall).

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