The Six-Day War

Discovering Israel

For many years, the relationship between Israel and its neighboring countries was tenuous; with multiple skirmishes between the countries. Eventually, the tensions between Egypt; Syria; Jordan, and Israel reached a point of no return called the Six-Day War.

In This Photo: Egyptian Air Force Base Attacked – Egyptian Planes Destroyed on the Ground – June 1967
(Credit: Government Press Office (Israel) CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Begining of the Six-Day War

International interference was unsuccessful in preventing what would happen next. On May 13th, 1967, the USSR falsely informed Egypt and Syria that Israeli defense forces were preparing to strike Syria. While the report was false, it didn’t stop President Nasser of Egypt from responding. On May 16th, Egypt demanded that the UN peacekeeping forces leave the peninsula, and on May 22nd, Nasser closed the Straits of Tehran. Before this escalation, Israel had made it known that closing the straits would be considered an act of war, so it is no surprise that Israel treated it as such. It was with this act that the Six-Day War was soon to follow.

In This Photo: Israeli Tanks Advancing on the Golan Heights
(Credit: Government Press Office (Israel) CC BY-SA 4.0)

On June 1st, Israel established a National Unity Government; by June 4th, they decided to go to war. Israel understood that it was vastly outnumbered in soldiers and equipment. Thus, they created Operation Focus. Using intelligence tactics to mislead the opposing countries and keep their plan a secret, the goal was to destroy the Egyptian Air Force. On June 5th, Operation Focus was a smashing success that initiated the Six-Day War. Israel caught Egypt entirely off guard, destroying many of its aircraft.

In This Photo: Operation Focus Was Mainly Conducted Using French Built Aircraft, On Display at the Israel Air Force Museum.
(Credit: Oren Rozen CC BY-SA 3.0)

Jordanian and Syrian air forces attacked Israel in return. So Israel responded by destroying their airfields; this led to Israeli control over the air for the rest of the Six-Day War. The ground front against Egypt began with Israel cleverly going through Gaza to capture Egyptian cities before advancing further down the front. Egypt retreated, and Israel followed, causing heavy Egyptian casualties. By capturing passes that led from Senai to the Egyptian mainland, the IDF could crush much of what was left of Egypt’s forces.

Israel wins the Jordanian Front

Meanwhile, on the other front, Israel has tried to maintain peace with Jordan. But King Hussein said their requests were too late. Moreover, there was heavy fighting between the two around West Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and other neighboring cities. Israel claimed victory in these battles; Jordan retreated into Jordanian territory. Although risky, Israel decided to follow Syria into the Golan Heights.

In This Photo: The Israeli Armor of the Six-Day War, Pictured Here the AMX 13. On DIsplay at the Latrun Armed Corps Museum.
(Credit: Bukvoed – CC BY 2.5)

By June 9th, Israel reached the plateau to capture the area from Syria; and the UN Security Council achieved armistice on all sides. By the end of the Six-Day War, Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and occupied the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip; the West Bank; East Jerusalem; and the Golan Heights. In conclusion, victory is attributed to more efficient military leadership, better planning, and intelligence. While Israel won this war, the conflict would resume in another six years.


Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history.

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