TW Viewpoint | How Did Israel Win The Six Day War?

August 28, 2019 | Jonathan Riley

In just six days the state of Israel shocked the world as it fought against 5 surrounding nations to not only defeat their enemy but gain a stronghold on the entire region. How did Israel win the Six Day War?


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From June 5th until June 10th 1967, Israel fought against the surrounding and regional nations of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon in what became a watershed moment for the recently formed nation. What followed was nothing short of miraculous, as events swung heavily in favour of the tiny nation of Israel.

In the weeks before war broke out the mood of the Israelis was foreboding and in the words of David Rubinger, a photographer during the conflict, “…in the weeks before the war there was a sense of doom. The national stadium was prepared for 40,000 graves and even if we thought we might win, it would be a costly victory.” The Israelis were Heavily outnumbered and outgunned by the Arab nations, who had over half a million troops, almost a thousand combat aircraft and over 2,500 tanks compared to Israel’s army which consisted of 300 aircraft, 800 tanks and a quarter million troops.

However, a monumental amount of preparation was made by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Military procedures were finessed and calculations were made, years in advance, to determine how many fighter jets Israel could have in the air at any moment. The process of landing, refueling, rearming and returning to the air was minimized. The Israeli air force could turn a jet around in eight minutes and complete this procedure for all its aircraft up to eight times a day.

The events began with Operation Focus, a pre-emptive strike carried out by the Israeli air force as they bombed the Egyptian airbases. Egypt transmitted false reports to surrounding Arab nations, claiming to have been successful in the conflict which opened up the conflict to the surrounding nations. This led to Syria, Jordan and Iraq initiating strikes against Israel.

Israel’s prepparations paid off and by the end of the first day of the conflict Israel had achieved air superiority. Over the next five days the IDF went on the offensive on three fronts, advancing into the Gaza strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Golan Heights. Casualties for the Arab nations were very heavy and extreme for such a short period of time. Over 20,000 Arab soldiers were killed or missing compared to less than 1,000 Israeli soldiers.

A number of reports from the conflict recorded how Arab civilians and local militia confused the Israeli forces with those of Iraq. Colonel Uri Banari gave an account of this when they captured the West Bank town of Shechem:

"At the entrance to Shechem stood thousands of Arabs who waved white handkerchiefs and clapped their hands. In our naïveté, we returned greetings and smiles. We entered the town and wondered: We are advancing and there is no disorder, no panic, the local armed guards stand by with rifles in their hands keeping order, and the crowds are cheering. " … "I didn't comprehend what had transpired. Only later, did I understand. The residents of Shechem thought that we were the Iraqi forces who were due to arrive from the direction of Jordan.” (Colonel Uri Ben-Ari)

Other eye witness accounts speak of panic stricken Syrian troops who became paralysed and were unable to return fire, unexploded shells that landed atop a munitions vehicle and the inexplicable lack of response from Egyptian and other Arab forces when fighting first broke out. In just six days Israel had achieved victory over insurmountable odds and had tripled the area of land under Israeli control including the religious sites of East Jerusalem.

According to biblical prophecy, the Jews-who were largely removed from the land of Israel for the past two millennia-would once again inhabit Jerusalem. The scriptures which predicted this were written roughly 2,500 years ago. Yet we find ourselves today with a bitter Jewish/Palestinian conflict, which prior to these mid-twentieth century events, would have been unbelievable.

If a text from 2,500 years ago could accurately prophecy who would control Jerusalem, perhaps we should consider what this text also states:

“For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken…
Half of the city shall go into captivity” (Zechariah 14:2)

With a current population around 900,000 the Jewish population in Jerusalem, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, is just over half a million. Which half of the city will go into captivity and what other events will occur around this time?

For more information you can read or request a print copy of our free booklet titled “The Middle East in Prophecy”.

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