In June of 1967, the tiny, besieged nation of Israel, not yet 20 years old, was simultaneously attacked from west and east by Egypt (known at the time as the United Arab Republic) and Jordan, while the Syrians shelled them in the north. The world watched in amazement as the Israeli Defense Forces wiped out the Egyptian air force on the ground, drove Egyptian armored vehicles out of Sinai, and chased the Jordanian army out of Jerusalem and across the West Bank. Syrian forces were driven off the Golan Heights, from which they had shelled Israeli settlements for years.
Israel lost about 700 men, compared to 15,000+ of it’s opponents. It was a miracle of biblical proportions.
The Jews who came to the arid, wasteland did not settle Israel with the intent to take it away from the Arabs; the Arab nations didn’t want the land before the Jewish refugees came. It wasn’t until after years of hard labor, irrigation, patience and fortitude that the Israelis were able to return it to a fertile, rich land. When the Arabs decided they no longer wanted the Jews there, events began to escalate and the 6 Day War was the result.
Years ago a man gave me two books to read that each in turn changed my life. The second was Exodus by Leon Uris. It is a fictional account of that war and the events leading up to it. But the truth of the events is in the story.
At the end of the war, following Israel’s defensive strike, the new nation had control of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. They now had borders that they could defend. And with those borders, the tiny, democratic nation has held it’s own in the Middle East where they are surrounded by nations that have sworn to destroy them.
The recently “suggested” border adjustments by our president would be indefensible. They would be the death toll for Israel. And they would require Israel to give up what they won in battle from opponents that attacked them. Excuse me?
This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before congress. To read about the reception he received, click here. Why 29 standing ovations? I think it is the voice of the people saying, “We stand with Israel.”
For a timeline of the war, read The Miracles of the Six Day War.