I was fourteen-years old and in the hospital. I had fallen in a cement culvert while walking across a plank. I never said I was all that coordinated!
I broke my left arm shattering the elbow in five places. A surgery was required to fix the arm. To this day I retain one of the metal pins in the arm to hold it together. A specialist was called in to do the surgery. He was Jewish (he told us) and a Lt. Col. in the US Army Reserve.
The day after the surgery he told my dad and I that he thought he might be called up because the Six-Day War between Israel versus Egypt, Syria and Jordan had broken out on June 5th. For the next five days or so we watched on TV the IDF trounce it’s saber-rattling neighbors in a pre-emptive strike. Israel then, as now, took seriously Arab threats of extinction and had vowed “never again” would the Jewish people submit peacefully to extermination.
I was only fourteen at the time and did not fully grasp the politics or the history of the Jewish state. All I knew as a boy with an interest in military history that Israel was surrounded by hostile neighbors and had been threatened for years by them. Israel said enough was enough and launched a pre-emptive strike catching the Arab Air Forces on the ground and achieving total air superiority within 24 hours.
The ground war was no less impressive and in the Sinai where Israel faced the largest threat of Nasser’s Egyptian Army a total rout of that army ensued.
On the Syrian front Israel was content to seize the Golan Heights and hold the high ground. The Syrians, much like Hezbollah today liked to fire artillery rounds across the border and by Israel taking the Golan it made it harder for them to do so.
The City of Jerusalem was taken from the Jordanians after an extremely hard fight. Pictures of Israeli paratroopers were flashed around the world as they stood before the Wailing Wall.
Even at fourteen I understood why Israel launched the pre-emptive strike. My dad was an avid reader and he had a copy of William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I read it and discovered the rather weird hatred for the Jewish people which resulted in the Holocaust. I came to understand the hatred of Jews was not limited to Nazi Germany either. Much of Europe (while America was largely indifferent) felt rather the same way.
This puzzled me. It puzzled me until I began to read the Bible and become better versed in World History.
The Bible makes it clear that through Israel Messiah would come and he did. Sadly most Jews still reject Messiah but that does not mean God has abandoned them. I do believe that the hatred we see these days coming from Iran and other Islamic States against Israel is at its roots rage against the nation/people who gave birth to the Promised Messiah.
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3 ESV)
(I believe that the promises have both a spiritual and physical (land) fulfillment. I cannot say that the current Jewish State is that physical fulfillment but do find it unusual that after 2000 years the Jews returned in numbers to the Promised Land.)
Today is the anniversary of the 6-Day -War where Israel declared to the world that it would not go quietly into the night. I don’t believe they have changed their minds. They will take Iran’s threats seriously and will act. I for one will not blame them.
[…] A Few Thoughts on the Six-Day War. […]
Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.
Your article is very well done, a good read.
Thanks for stopping by and the encouraging words. Yes, war sucks. I subscribe to Augustine’s idea about a just war but defining a just war is tricky. Thanks again.