Day Six of the War | Six Day War Project

10/12 | In the 10th video of our 12-part mini-series, experience the jubilation as the war ends and learn about the implications of Israel’s victory. Israel, small and only 19 years old, was now the Middle East’s dominant military power. It now controlled the Golan Heights, the massive Sinai desert, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the reunited city of Jerusalem, the site of the ancient Jewish Temple — Judaism’s holiest site. The result in the Arab world was humiliation and anger.

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Egypt and Jordan had been defeated, and Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip were in Israeli hands.

But the war was not over. Syria continued to shell northern Israel from its perch on the Golan Heights.

After securing the lower access points to the Golan, the Israeli army made its bid for the high ground on June 10th, seeking to stop Syrian shelling of Israeli civilians once and for all. As the IDF advanced, Syrian forces fell away, abandoning their posts all the way to Kuneitra, the last Syrian stronghold. The entire Golan Heights was now in Israel’s control.

And with that, the war was over. The Arab side suffered catastrophic losses and Israel had established itself as the dominant military power in the Middle East, to the humiliation and rage of its Arab adversaries.

Threatened with imminent destruction, Israel had prevailed. It captured the Golan Heights, preventing Syria from targeting communities in northern Israel. It captured eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, preventing the Jordanians from shelling Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and giving Israel the strategic high ground and a more defensible width. Israel also took control of the entire Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, protecting Israel’s southern border and opening the waterway to Eilat, its southern port.

Israel was swept by a wave of euphoria. The small, strongly outnumbered country had won a stunning military victory and greatly increased its size to borders that could be realistically defended. It had removed the sense of constant peril Israelis had faced ever since the establishment of the state. And perhaps most acutely felt was the sense of national and historical rebirth, as Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place and capital of the ancient Jewish kingdom, was reunited under Jewish sovereignty for the first time in 2,000 years.

Day Five of the War | Six Day War Project

9/12 | In the ninth video of our 12-part series, find out why Israel ascended the Golan Heights, and why the Egyptian public forgave Nasser for their defeat. Throughout the war Egyptian President Nasser falsely reported stirring military victories over Israel. But today, he publicly announced the truth – the Egyptian army had been defeated.

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Throughout the war the Egyptian media under President Gamal Abdel Nasser had been falsely reporting military victories against Israel. But on June 9th, Nasser could no longer hide the truth. He appeared on national television, and while primarily blaming the US and Britain for providing Israel with massive military support – which was a false accusation – he admitted the defeat of the Egyptian army, and resigned his office. But, after receiving an outpouring of Egyptian public sympathy the next day, Nasser promptly withdrew his resignation.

With Egypt and Jordan defeated, Israel turned its attention toward Syria.

For decades, the Syrian military looked down on Israel’s Galilee region from the Golan Heights, and regularly shelled northern Israeli cities, towns and communities. Since the end of the 1948 War, over 1,000 rockets and shells had been fired on Israel, with Syrian terrorists regularly infiltrating the border to attack Israeli civilians. Over 120 Israelis had been murdered.

With Syria still conducting attacks despite the defeat of Egypt and Jordan, Israeli troops moved on the slopes of the Golan Heights, taking control of all the roads and access points to the strategic plateau. But the battle for the Golan continued, with firing on Israeli communities still underway.

What Made This a ‘War of No Choice’ | Six Day War Project #4

4/12 | In the fourth video of this mini-series, experience the fear Israelis felt as they prepared for an inevitable war. With Israel’s army vastly outnumbered, Israelis suspended civilian life, converting schools to bomb shelters and public parks to mass graveyards.

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In the week before the start of the war, the Arab streets echoed with calls to destroy the Jewish state.

Jordan signed a military pact with Egypt and Syria. Meanwhile, Israel hoped the United States would forcibly break the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran, but the US refrained from intervening, fearing a confrontation with the Egypt-sponsoring USSR.

Israel’s army was gravely outnumbered. Poised for assault were 80,000 Egyptian troops, 60,000 Jordanian troops, and 50,000 Syrian troops, and a total of more than 850 tanks and 600 combat aircrafts.

The mood throughout Israel was tense and anxious. Schools and public transportation were suspended. Teenagers worked filling sandbags. School buildings were converted to bomb shelters. Medicine and over 14,000 hospital beds were prepared.

In addition, parks throughout the country were dug up – to ready over 10,000 graves. Israelis feared a second Holocaust.

Meanwhile, Jews and non-Jews held mass demonstrations and fundraisers in New York and London. Jewish volunteers from around the world arrived to enlist in Israel’s defense.

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol addressed the nation in a televised speech now famous for its hesitancy, and later entrusted the Ministry of Defense to Israeli war hero General Moshe Dayan.

By now, it was clear that diplomacy had failed. On the night of June 4th, Israel’s cabinet confirmed that Arab armies threatened the very existence of the State. The government authorized Prime Minister Eshkol and Defense Minister Dayan to deploy the Israeli Defense Forces for preemptive military action.

That action that would remain top secret until the morning.

Egypt Blockades the Straits of Tiran | Six Day War Project #3

3/12 | In the third video of this mini-series, Israel pursues a diplomatic solution to the tensions with Egypt, but Egypt imposes a naval blockade on Israel. And that’s an act of war. The world waits to see what will happen next.

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By late May, Egyptian President Nasser’s deployment of tens of thousands of troops in the buffer zone along Israel’s border was an unambiguous threat to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol responded cautiously that Israel would not initiate hostilities as long as Egypt refrained from closing the international waterway leading to Israel’s southern port – the Straits of Tiran. Such an act would cut off Israel’s supply of oil and other vital resources, by blocking Israeli access to the Gulf of Aqaba and Asia.

On May 23rd, President Nasser gave his answer by blockading the straits. This action violated UN Security Council Resolution 118, was condemned by US President Lyndon Johnson, and constituted an act of war in international law.

Nonetheless, Israel did not take immediate military action, continuing to attempt a resolution through diplomatic channels.

But Israel’s enemies would not be moved by diplomacy alone. As five other Arab countries deployed their troops toward Israel, Nasser told the public: “We knew that closing the Gulf of Aqaba meant war with Israel… If war comes it will be total and the objective will be Israel’s destruction…”

Egypt Expels UN Observers | Six Day War Project #2

2/12 | The second video of this mini-series sets the stage for war, as Egyptian President Nasser makes aggressive moves, amassing tens of thousands of troops along Israel’s border, and ordering the UN peacekeeping force to leave. Watch their astonishing response.

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In mid-May 1967, Arab hostility toward Israel was about to take a dramatic turn for the worse. On May 14, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser began moving troops and military equipment into the demilitarized zone in the Sinai Peninsula between Israel and Egypt.

Nasser’s move was fueled, in part, by misinformation he had received from the Soviet Union – Egypt’s ally and sponsor – claiming that Israel was on the verge of invading Syria. However, though Nasser learned these reports were false just a day later, he continued moving tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks toward the Israeli border.

On May 16th, goaded on by other Arab countries and Egyptian public opinion, Nasser ordered the immediate evacuation of all UN troops and termination of the UN presence on the Egyptian-Israeli border. The UN complied, leaving the buffer zone under total Egyptian control. Israel now lay exposed on its southern border, as Egypt continued amassing its troops in the Sinai. By the end of the week, Egypt had placed 80,000 troops, 550 tanks, and 1,000 artillery pieces on the Israeli border.