Forty-nine years ago yesterday, the Six-Day War began. To commemorate this conflict - which saw Israel's Holy City reunified - Yediot Achronot gives us the testimonies of the generals who served the IDF during the war:
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin recalled the time leading up to the Six Day War. “Up until the beginning of May, we were completely convinced that Egypt had made it clear to Syria that the mutual defense contract signed by the two countries in 1966 would only be put into effect if a general war broke out. Our assumption was that if we intiated an attack in Syria it would definitely obligate Egypt (to join), as well."
These days, the Six day War is considered to have been brought on by an escalation in Israel’s relationship with the Arab world, the relationships between the Arab nations themselves and the intervening of world powers such as the Soviet Union. A new power dynamic was forming in the Middle East, but it was yet unclear as to how Israel should respond to it. “Personally,” said Rabin. “I can’t say that on the eve of the Six Day War I knew what I know now following the war about the Egyptian soldiers' capabilities, particularly when it came to matters of defense. I gave them more credit than was due.”
When asked why there was no detailed plan to reclaim the Old City, Rabin disclosed that, in fact, “There was an explicit order not to reclaim the Old City. It was based on political considerations and out of my hands..."