The Six Day War – The miracle in the air and on the ground

The Six Day War – The miracle in the air and on the ground. By Joseph Pruder. An interesting account of the short war in 1967 between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Told by someone stationed at the Israeli main airbase, from which the surprise airstrikes that devastated the Arab forces were launched. Some of the lesser-known observations are excerpted here.

The Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdul Nasser, made bellicose statements on the Voice of the Arabs radio station, including the threat of drowning the Jews in the Mediterranean Sea. … The vital shipment of oil to Israel came through the Straits to Eilat. On May 23, 1967, Nasser, addressing Egyptian pilots in the Sinai, announced the blockade of the Straits …

In Israel, the news throughout May 1967 filled the people with doom and gloom. In the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, as well as elsewhere in Israel, it was felt that once again Jews were abandoned to their fate by the world. In Tel Aviv, ditches were dug to bury the anticipated thousands of casualties. A sense of desperation pervaded the country, and memories of the Holocaust came flashing back. The Maritime powers did nothing to fulfill their promise. Israel was alone to face the Arab world seething with hatred and revenge and promising a bloodbath. …

After the war starts:

Back on Israel’s home front, cars and public transportation buses were requisitioned by the IDF, and factories were closed because all able-bodied workers were mobilized. There were hardly any men left on the streets. Israeli cities looked like ghost towns. Wives and mothers were praying for their husbands and sons. …

A few days later, when the news that our paratroopers captured the Old City, and the Western Wall “was in our hands,” the feeling was that a G-d given miracle had occurred. We had all dreamed of one day visiting the Old City, the Temple Mount and the Wall, but it was wishful thinking. Now it was real, a dream come true. A week or so later, our squadron commandeered a few trucks so we could drive up to Jerusalem to touch the Wall, and see the historical sights denied us for 19-years. …

For years, Israeli kibbutzim around the Sea of Galilee lived in shelters, enduring almost daily Syrian shelling from the heights of the Golan in northeastern Israel. On Friday, June 9, the Israeli cabinet voted to end the 19-year nightmare. IAF jets neutralized the Syrian air force and pummeled its entrenched bunkers on the Golan. It was literally an “uphill battle,” in which Israel prevailed. By the end of fighting on June 10th, the entire Golan Heights was in Israel’s hands. The next day, a cease-fire was declared and all fighting stopped.