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The Lesson of 1967

IDF soldiers and jeep during 1967 Six-Day War (Photo: wikicommons/רפי רוגל)

The Six-Day War of 1967 saw Israel win a miraculous and surprising victory over its threatening Arab neighbors. Perhaps the greatest part of the victory was the reunification of Jerusalem. But, Dr. Ephraim Kam writes at Israel Hayom, another result of the Israeli victory was that the Jewish state proved she could defend herself, and that her enemies would not destroy her:

The 1967 Six-Day War was not the Arab militaries' first defeat, but it was the most painful one. In 1948, the Arab armies failed to both prevent the establishment of the State of Israel and to eliminate it, but they had an excuse: Their militaries were the product of European imperialism and old Arab regimes and lacked military skills and motivation, and it was every Arab nation for itself rather than a collective effort.

In October of 1956, the Israel Defense Forces defeated the Egyptian Army and conquered the Sinai Peninsula within a week. Then, too, the Egyptians had an excuse: It wasn't just Israel they were fighting, but also British and French forces invading the Suez Canal. The Egyptian army was consequently forced to evacuate Sinai to defend itself from European invaders, they said.

But in 1967, the IDF conquered Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights within just six days. This time, there were no excuses. Egypt, which had led the escalation that ushered in the war, had a new army, armed with Soviet weaponry. In preparing the Arab world for battle against Israel, Egypt believed they would win. Their defeat was multi-faceted -- military, political and economic.

The war brought about dramatic change in the Arab perception of the struggle against Israel. From that point on, Arab leaders understood that Israel's military was stronger than that of any Arab country and even any coalition of Arab states that would go to war against it. From an Arab standpoint, the objective of war had changed: Up until 1967, the objective had been the "elimination of the results of 1948," in other words, the elimination of the State of Israel. From 1967 on, the goal was "the elimination of the results of 1967," meaning to restore territories conquered by Israel in 1967 to Arab hands. Israel's elimination was no longer mentioned...

Tags: History , Israel

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