Fifty-four years ago, in the spring of 1967, Israel was on the brink of war.
Israel’s Very Existence
For months, Israel’s neighbors had engaged in hostile, provocative acts toward the Jewish state, accompanied by equally hostile, provocative words. Egypt sent troops into the Sinai Desert and blockaded the Straits of Tiran, cutting one of Israel’s key shipping routes. Egyptian president Nasser promised “to deal Israel a mortal blow of annihilation.” The president of Iraq echoed his words, saying, “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified.” Syria’s defense minister said, “the time has come to begin a battle of annihilation.”
Israel realized her very existence was at stake. She could sit and wait for her enemies to attack, or she could defend herself and protect the land God gave the Jewish people as an eternal inheritance. Israel decided to send her armies in self-defense against the hostile forces surrounding her.
And on the morning of June 5, 1967, the Israeli air force struck at Egyptian airfields while Egyptian pilots were still eating breakfast. Within hours, hundreds of Egyptian planes were destroyed. Similar attacks were launched against Jordan and Syria, crippling their air forces. Six days later, Israel accepted an offer of ceasefire from her enemies. The conflict became known as the Six-Day War.
A Miracle from God
It was truly a miracle. Tiny Israel was greatly outgunned and outmanned. It was a war that Israel did not want and doubted it was possible to win. Yet, she was gloriously triumphant. With God’s help, Israel defended her citizens and her right to exist as a free, sovereign, Jewish state.
I can only imagine the joy in Israel after the war in 1967, which led to the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli rule after it had been divided during the 1948 war of independence. I have seen the celebratory pictures. I have heard the stories from those who fought in the Six-Day War, as well as those who joined thousands of Israelis on the first Shabbat that Jews were permitted to pray at the Western Wall. My mother also visited Israel just a week after the war and described the euphoric atmosphere.
As the 54th anniversary of the Six-Day War nears, let us continue to thank God for Israel’s amazing victory in 1967, and for her survival against all odds through the ages. And even though we know that Israel may again have to fight – the recent conflict with Hamas, during which 4,000 terrorist rockets were fired at Israel, shows that many are still dedicated to Israel’s destruction – let us also thank God that we are no longer alone. Our Christian friends stand with us as “watchmen on the walls” offering their solidarity and support. Together, we will continue to lift our voices to heaven, praying to God for the day when Israel’s enemies will one day accept her offers of peace.
With blessings from the Holy Land,
Tags: History Israel Six-Day War