I remember it so clearly.
Even though my parents seldom spoke of Israel, I felt a burning in my heart during that miraculous Six-Day war. I knew nothing about Bible prophecy. I had never read nor even held the New Testament. I knew that my father secretly cherished Israel; he gave money to the Israeli government each year. Mom had grown up very secular, but dad was from an orthodox home and had attended a Hebrew high school.
I remember going to synagogue for the High Holy Days and watching my father’s face as he sang in Hebrew. My dad was not an emotional man, but when we were in our synagogue, I saw a man whom I hardly knew. I think that he was happiest when we were in synagogue.
The Miracle of the Six-Day War
I felt to write on this today. I felt that burning in my heart once again. There are probably those who are too young to remember this war. If that is you, you are about to read of God’s miraculous power which was displayed to the whole world. It has been 50 years, but to me it is like it was yesterday.
From chabad.org (this is a Jewish website)
In the spring of 1967, following close to a decade of relative calm, Israel found itself poised for war against four of its Arab neighbors.
According to all the military analysts and pundits, it was to be a lopsided match. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) consisted of 275,000 troops, compared to the 456,000 soldiers of the combined Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian armies. The united Arab forces also had a decided edge with regards to weaponry and military equipment: they boasted more than double the amount of tanks, and close to four times the amount of combat aircraft. The three-week period preceding the Six-Day War was one of dread, shock and fright for the residents of the Holy Land.
With close to two and a half million Jews living in the tiny country, it had the highest concentration of Jews since pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe. So pessimistic was the outlook that the nation’s cemeteries and national parks were marked to become gravesites for the many who would surely perish in the course of the war.
However, despite all the prognostications, by the time the war ended, the territory under Israeli control had tripled in size. Jews returned to sites where their ancestors had lived for thousands of years, sites from which waves of terror were launched against them for so many years. The casualties and losses were painful, but minimal in comparison to all projections. The Jewish nation was miraculously victorious in the face of unbelievable odds.
History books speak of the “Hundred Years’ War,” the “Thirty Years’ War,” and many other long-fought battles. Here, in a matter of six short days, a nation managed to utterly rout not one, but four powerful enemies!
Jews across the globe thanked G‑d for the great miracles that happened. An incredible sense of pride and spiritual awakening gripped the Jewish people worldwide.
The following is a brief account of some of the major events of the war, with emphasis placed on a few of the miraculous occurrences which characterized its battles. We will also highlight the pivotal role of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, in calming and reassuring a frightened and trepidation-filled nation, both before and during the war, and foretelling its miraculous outcome.
Israel was celebrating its Independence Day when the Israeli government received word that Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser was moving heavy artillery into the Sinai Desert. Additionally, large numbers of Egyptian forces were crossing the Suez Canal into the Sinai Desert. The Egyptian government had put its army on alert for an upcoming war. Syria and Jordan, too, moved into a state of alert and announced that they would not sit by idly if Israel attacked Egypt.
On the next day, the Egyptians instructed the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), whose stated role was to serve as a buffer between Israel and Egypt, to leave the Sinai Desert. UNEF complied with this directive. A week later, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli vessels and any ships that transported military equipment to Israel. Israel considered this move an act of war.
One week earlier, Israel had called up all army reservists for active duty. News of the pact between Egypt, Syria and Jordan, effectively creating a noose around Israel’s borders, brought home to a frightened Israeli public the reality of an impending war. The media began discussing the prospects of a war with much bloodshed. The term “second Holocaust” was bandied around.
On the 27th of May, the Israeli government began instructing its citizens to prepare themselves for war, offering self-defense primers. Bomb shelters were prepared, and students dug bunkers across the land.
Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol delivered a national radio address in an attempt to calm the populace. Instead, he projected confusion and hesitancy. The Israeli public was in shock over the lack of confidence their prime minister demonstrated. The nation’s panic thickened.
That very same day, thousands of miles away in Brooklyn, New York, more than 20,000 children and adults gathered on the streets to celebrate the festive day of Lag BaOmer and Jewish unity. In his address to the gathering, the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke forcefully about the situation in Israel. The Rebbe emphatically declared: “G‑d is guarding them and sending them His blessings and salvation in extraordinary measure. The people of Israel will emerge from the current situation with remarkable success.”
The Rebbe urged the children to do good deeds in the merit of their brethren in Israel, and then, in a strong voice expressing unmistakable confidence and assurance, proceeded to quote G‑d’s blessing and assurance (Leviticus 26:6), “And I will bring peace to the Land, and you will lie down with no one to frighten you . . .” He concluded by saying, “G‑d will extract the Jewish nation from all hardships with His full, open, holy and outstretched hand, and will bring them peace and tranquility . . .”
As foreign embassies called for their citizens to immediately evacuate from Israel, and foreign airlines were contemplating terminating their flights to Israel, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronotcarried a surprisingly uplifting headline: “G‑d Is Watching over the Holy Land, and Salvation Is Near,” the headline screamed. The article contained the Rebbe’s message: “There is no reason to be afraid, and there is no reason to frighten others. I am displeased with the exaggerations being disseminated and the panicking of the citizens in Israel . . .” (emphasis added)
Newspapers across Israel, from Haaretz to Al Hamishmar, carried uplifting headlines in the Rebbe’s name. The Rebbe’s reassuring talk at the Lag BaOmer parade reached the studios of Israel’s national radio, Kol Yisrael, and was broadcast with simultaneous translation from the original Yiddish to Hebrew.
The media also made note of the fact that the Rebbe urged all foreigners who were in Israel to remain there.
The Rebbe’s reassuring voice brought calm to many people. In an interview with Davar following the Six-Day War, Israeli President Zalman Shazar said: “I did not doubt for a moment that we would be triumphant. The Rebbe called me, and it was clear that he had full faith that we would be victorious.”
At a Shabbat farbrengen (gathering) at Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, the Rebbecalled on world Jewry to increase their performance of good deeds in the merit of their brethren in Israel, and especially to bolster the fulfillment of the mitzvah to put on tefillin. The Rebbe quoted the verse, “All the nations of the earth will see that the name of the L‑rd is upon you, and they will fear you.” Our sages tell us that we merit the fulfillment of this divine promise through wearing tefillin.
Chabad-Lubavitch followers around the globe immediately began encouraging Jewish men to don tefillin. Following the Rebbe’s instructions, and a special telegram he sent to the soldiers asking them to join in this biblical command, special emphasis was placed on going to the frontlines and assisting IDF forces in putting on tefillin. Those furthest from fulfilling the commandments back at home were often among the first who lined up to perform this special mitzvah.
By 7:30 AM, two hundred Israeli Air Force (IAF) planes were in the air, heading towards Egyptian airbases. Though flying very low, so as not to be detected by the scores of Arab radar sites, a Jordanian radar facility detected an unusually large number of aircraft heading towards the sea. The officer on duty immediately sent a message, “Inab,” the codeword for war, to Jordan military headquarters in Amman. The message was encoded and passed on to Egypt’s defense minister in Cairo. Miraculously, however, the Egyptian coding frequencies had been changed the previous day, and the Jordanians had not been updated. That morning, with the element of surprise in their favor, the IAF obliterated six Egyptian airfields—two in Egypt proper and four in the Sinai Desert—destroying 204 Egyptian planes, half of their air force. Though Egypt had sufficient anti-aircraft ammunition to destroy all the attacking Israeli planes, miraculously, no order was given for these missiles to be launched. The Israelis accomplished their mission with practically no resistance.
The total air superiority achieved on the first day of the war drastically reduced the enemies’ combat abilities.
- Israeli airstrikes destroy two-thirds of the Syrian Air Force, more than 300 Egyptian aircraft, and most of Royal Jordanian Air Force.
- IDF completes the capture of Rafah and El-Arish.
- The “Government House” in Jerusalem is captured from the Jordanians.
IAF planes and pilots had now been involved in almost constant battle for twenty-four hours. The pilots were weary, and the aircraft low on ammunition and fuel. Inexplicably, the enemy did not take advantage of this weakness. Though in control of extensive forces in the Sinai Desert, and certainly capable of mounting a ferocious counterattack, Egyptian leaders were reduced to giving incoherent and disorganized instructions to their troops.
Israeli troops pressed on in the Sinai front. After capturing the Egyptian eastern outpost Abu-Ageila the day earlier, they now approached the heavily defended Kusseima outpost. As the Israelis drew near, they heard massive explosions. When they arrived they saw that the Egyptians, for no apparent reason, had destroyed their equipment and abandoned the base! As the day continued, it became clear that the Egyptians were hastily abandoning many of their outposts, some with all their supplies left behind.
- Israel seizes Gaza, Kalkiliya and Ramallah.
- “Ammunition Hill” in East Jerusalem, the mountainous area of northwest Jerusalem, and the fortress at Latrun, all fall into Israeli hands. Jerusalem is now encircled by Israeli forces.
Political pressure mounts as leading nations call upon Israel to accept a ceasefire proposed by King Hussein of Jordan. At the last moment, this ceasefire was nixed by the unwillingness of King Hussein to comply with the terms of the ceasefire he himself initiated! Indeed, “the hearts of kings and rulers are in the hand of G‑d.” This allowed the IDF to finish the task of completely annihilating the enemy’s military infrastructure, and to bring the Old City of Jerusalem under Israeli control.
The Old City had been under Jordanian control since 1948. For nineteen years Jews had been banned from visiting its holy sites, including the Western Wall, where Jews had prayed for thousands of years. On this day Jerusalem was reunited, and once again a united Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people.
- Israel captures many cities. The most notable ones: East Jerusalem (including the Old City and the Temple Mount), Sharm El-Sheikh (taken by the Israeli Navy), Judea, Jericho, Gush Etzion and Nablus.
Israeli soldiers entering the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Me’arat HaMachpela, in Hebron. Photo: Tzukerman Aharon/Israel National Photo Archive
Hebron, a holy city that houses the resting place of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. A city which in its recent past had boasted a sizable Jewish population and fifty-eight synagogues. But for some time now, Jews had been banned from living in this city, and its synagogues were destroyed. The IDF entering Hebron found white sheets hanging from the windows, and an Arab population surrendering peacefully. The war in the West Bank was concluded. Israel now had full control over the entire region.
Arab countries were bombarded with Egyptian and Jordanian propaganda claiming that American and English planes were assisting Israel in pounding their bases and country’s forces. This canard caused much distress to American and English embassies and citizens across the Middle East. Embassies were shut down, and innocent people driven from their homes. The “Big Lie” backfired on its perpetrators. On June 8, King Hussein contacted the English, pleading for assistance and asking them to pressure Israel to stop its incessant attacks. England ignored the request, largely because of Hussein’s backing of the lie.
- Israel takes control of the holy city of Hebron,and Al Qantarah El Sharqiyya in the Sinai Desert. This places most of Sinai in Israeli hands.
- Jordanian bridges are destroyed.
After suffering significant casualties in the offensive to overtake the Golan Heights, Commander Musa Klein’s platoon had only twenty-five men at his disposal. But they continued upwards.
When they reached Tel Fakhr, Klein ordered his men to charge the position, unaware that it was one of the most heavily fortified Syrian positions. It had bunkers, trenches and a double row of wire, along with an arsenal of antitank guns, machine guns and 82mm mortars. The handful of IDF soldiers were worse off than sitting ducks . . .
Syrian Captain Ahmad Ibrahim Khalili gave his men instructions not to fire until the Israelis reached the wire. In no time at all, however, it was too late. In the Syrians’ own words: “The Jews are already inside, and we’ve taken heavy casualties.” Commander Klein and his men were victorious, and continued up the Heights.
- Israel seizes the Straits of Tiran. Israel breaks through the Golan plateau.
IDF forces ascend the Golan Heights as abandoned Syrian tanks lay near the road. Photo: Israel National Photo Archive
The Israelis were originally reluctant to invade the Golan Heights. It would be an uphill battle against a well-entrenched and fortified position, protected by an army of 75,000 Syrian troops. The Syrian troops and munitions were entrenched in deep bunkers which were immune to air attack. One noted Israeli general estimated that such a battle would cost the Israelis 30,000 lives. Incredibly, though, after only seven hours of heavy fighting on June 9th, IDF commanders established strongholds in the northern and central sectors of the Golan. The next morning dawned with the Israeli forces apprehensively awaiting another day of fierce fighting. The Syrians, however, had other plans. In a sudden panic, before the Israelis even approached their positions, they pulled out of the Golan and fled in total chaos, leaving most of their weaponry behind. The moutaintops that were strategically utilized to murder Jews in the Holy Land were now in the hands of the Israelis.
The final offensive was completed and, on that day, a ceasefire was signed.
- Israel captures the strategic Golan Heights and Msada. A ceasefire goes into effect at 6:30 PM.
Major General Ezer Weizmann, Chief of Operations of the IDF puts on tefillin at the Western Wall
A euphoric and relieved Israeli population now awaited the day when they would once again be allowed to visit the Western Wall, the Kotel, in the Old City of Jerusalem. On the holiday of Shavuot, the holy site was opened for civilians. More than 200,000 came; they cried, prayed, and thanked G‑d for His incredible miracles and salvation.
On the very next day, the Chabad-Lubavitch tefillin booth was established in the plaza facing the Wall. In its first year alone, one and a half million people donned tefillin at the Wall. The booth, now a permanent fixture of the Western Wall, is manned daily from shortly after dawn until dusk. – source
I remember when victory was proclaimed, I jumped and cried. I didn’t even know why I had such an overwhelming reaction to this event. I can only imagine that the Lord was preparing me to really know Him. It was as if He was speaking to my heart and saying “This is your land and Jerusalem is My city – so rejoice! And I did rejoice!
My father Met Yeshua
I was saved in 1983. I shared the Lord with my father after my parents moved to Florida. I wrote to him often. I wanted him to understand what really happened to me, and mostly to understand that Yeshua (Jesus) is truly the Messiah of the Jewish people.
In 1997, my parents moved back because my father was very ill. He was in a hospice facility. I visited him every night after work. The last night I came and no one else was there. I held his hand and spoke of Yeshua. I asked my dad if he wanted to really know Yeshua, to squeeze my hand if he did. He did squeeze my hand, and then I told him that I would say a prayer of salvation for him – and for him to squeeze my hand if he understood. All through the prayer he squeezed my hand.
I had to leave, and when I returned home, my sister called and said that dad was gone. Through my tears I rejoiced because I knew where he was.
Israel Will See Another Miraculous War
I believe that we are close to the Ezekiel 38-39 war. The signs are all around. Again, Israel will be completely outnumbered. The world will no doubt believe that this is the end of the Nation of Israel. But God will once again intervene for His people.
Ezekiel 38:16-23 (KJV)
“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
Thus saith the Lord God; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?
And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.
For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.
And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!