Israel had succeeded in destroying two thirds of the Egyptian air force just the day before. Now, on June 6, the Israeli Defense Force engaged Egyptian tanks and troops in the Sinai.
In another remarkable feat, Israel defeated Egypt in the desert, despite being outnumbered three-to-one. Egypt, seeing the extent of their loss, retreated, leaving the Sinai Peninsula in Israel’s hands. By noon the next day, Israel would control the port at Sharm El-Sheikh, reopening the sea lanes Egypt had blocked just two weeks before.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops were positioned on the strategic mountaintop of Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, overlooking the historic Old City. Though Israel could have pounded Jordanian troops with artillery, it refrained in order to preserve the city which held such significance for the Jewish people.
In an emergency session at the United Nations in New York, Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban held Egypt to task for its aggression against Israel, also heralding the great success Israel had so far in resisting that aggression.
In Israel, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol turned to the Soviets for assistance in securing peace. Yet the Soviets remained cold to Israel’s request, issuing a demand that Israel “immediately and unconditionally” halt all military operations.
This was a path Israel could not afford to take. The war would continue.
This video was produced by Jerusalem U in partnership with The Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish National Fund, the Israel Action Network, the European Jewish Congress and the Center for Israel Education. For more on the dramatic events and impact of the Six Day War, visit sixdaywarproject.org.