Today, exactly 50 years ago, when the Six Day War began, Divine Providence marched hand in hand with the bravery of the Jewish People. I have received many requests to reprint this article in celebration of the commemoration of this very special and unique historical event. Kind respects,
The Six Day Miracle 50 years ago – June 6, 1967
The six days between June 5th until June 10, 1967 are without parallel in the story of human warfare. These 6 days are also without parallel as far as modern day miracles are concerned as well. Prior to 1967, who had ever heard of a full-scale war measured in days? One which began at 07:45 Monday morning and was over dramatically on Saturday of the same week. This was a war in which one tiny country – Israel – faced five hostile Arab countries: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, with assistance from Iraq and Lebanon and with a combined military might of twice the number of soldiers, three times the amount of tanks and four times the amount of fighter aircraft. Egypt and Syria military forces were trained by leading Soviet military advisors and armed with the most sophisticated weaponry in the Soviet arsenal. This was a war when, even in the event of victory, some experts assessed the expected Israeli death toll to be as high as 100,000 causalities, yet somehow it ended with less than 800 Israeli killed in action. This week we celebrate the victory of the Six Day War in which Israel miraculously defeated the combined armies of all the Arab nations that surrounded her. It was in this war that Israel liberated and united the City of Jerusalem and returned to the heartland of her ancient homeland – Judea and Samaria, all prophesized in the Holy Bible.
Ezer Weizman, who had built the Israeli Air Force and was Head of Operations during the war, was asked to explain the astounding success of the air force on the first day of the war. All he could think of was a verse from the Bible, in which Pharaoh’s greatest sorcerers and advisor submitted to a met-physical explanation of the plagues – “it is the Finger of G-d”. The then Chief of Staff, Yitzchak Rabin, summed up the war with a message in a telegram sent to the post-war celebrations in Tel-Aviv, with the following quote from the Hallel prayer- “This is the day that Hashem made; we shall exult and rejoice on it.”
A new reality had been created. Something of Biblical proportions, redemptive realities and Messianic implications. Something in the human order had irrevocable changed. The core of this shift was not only the miraculous nature of the war but the fact that the Jewish people had returned for the first time in 2000 years, not only to their holiest site, but to a site held dear to over three billion people, to all three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The implication is clear. The human sage began here and humanity’s spiritual destiny is inextricably linked to Jerusalem. The sovereign return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem was therefore a spiritual and political seismic shift of epic proportions.
Salvation from the Sky” – Operation Moked
At 07:15 Monday morning (June 5th, 1967) almost all the planes (about 200) in the Israeli Air Force (IAF) set off to attack the Egyptian Air Force – its planes and airfields. Only 12 Fighter Jets stayed and patrolled the open skies of all of Israel to protect the center of the country. “Operation Moked” which launched the war, carried strategic and existential risks. Egypt had a well-developed, advanced anti-aircraft arsenal, boasting dozens of missiles and hundreds of cannons, generously supplied by the Soviet Union and her satellite states. In complete contrast, most of the Israeli planes were old French models, hardly fitting for the operational needs at hand. Had the Israeli attacking force been detected on their way, before the attack, they could have easily been knocked out of the air and Israel would have remained defenseless with a totally destroyed air force.
It was precisely then that the great miracle occurred. All of the aircraft reached the Egyptian airfields in Sinai, along the Suel Canal and the Nile River – without even one being detected. The entire Egyptian anti-aircraft batteries line all along the border perimeters of Egypt didn’t function. Divine Providence linked arms with the brave Israeli pilots. They flew in total silence at an altitude of only 80 feet above the sea with precision and operation discipline. At exactly 07:45, the Israeli planes hovered over the Egyptian airfields and bombed the runways, effectively putting the Egyptian Air force out of action. Within one hour more than 200 Egyptian planes had been destroyed, all of Egypt’s military runways were bombed preventing any remaining Egyptian planes from taking off turning these fighter aircraft into sitting ducks only to be destroyed by the 2nd sweep of Israeli bombers. General Motti Hod, the head of the IAF at the time was quoted as stating “Even in my wildest dreams I could not have imagined such as achievement,” adding “Who can express the power of G-d, tell all His praise?” (Psalms 106:2). Exactly three hours after the start of Operation Moked, at 10:45, the war had been won. Approximately 300 Egyptian planes had been destroyed and all airfields disabled.
The miracles were not over yet. Egypt’s allies – Jordan, Syria and Iraq – believed the Egyptians false announcements of great victories against Israel and rushed into the fray, eager to be part of the “Great Victory”. Arab planes attacked Israeli towns and army bases, but before they had a chance to cause any serious damage, Israel’s combat pilots and anti-aircraft batteries had shot them down. Following this attack, Israel decided to expand Operation Moked and destroy Syrian and Jordanian aerial power. So at 12:45, the third wave took form and by 3:45, more than 100 Jordanian and Syrian planes had been destroyed and all airfields paralyzed. Within 24 hours, all within the first day of the Six Day War, three major Arab nations threatening Israel had no more air power and the Israeli Air Force was the sole ruler of Middle Eastern skies, a reality that has persisted until today.
Within Six Days, the Israel Defense Forces were stationed along new borders that had expanded the country to three times its pre-war size. Despite the weeks and months of hostile actions prior to the Six Day War unilaterally taken by Israel’s Arab neighbors that were without a doubt declarations of war, no one in Israel or anywhere else for that matter expected such an outcome. On the contrary, Israel had prepared for a long and painful war with thousands dead. What transpired was the exact opposite, the world was in awe. In those Six-Days we saw the bravery of the Jewish people march hand in hand with Divine Providence. G-d’s outstretched Hand gave us our Land back, as he commanded us “ I have given the land before you, come and inherit the land that God swore to your forefathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give to them and their future generations.” (Deuteronomy 1:8)
*this article is based in its entirety on a booklet written by Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi – The Six-Day War Scroll, The Story of Yom Herushalayim and the Six Days of Deliverance
*The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer and Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psychoeducation programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today, Ron is a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria.