In May of 1967, the state of Israel was only 19 years old. At its inception in 1948, five Arab armies had coordinated a military invasion to prevent the creation of the small Jewish country. But Israel’s War of Independence succeeded in repelling the forces bent on Israel’s destruction. Israel reclaimed sovereignty over the ancient Jewish homeland, making way for the establishment of a Jewish country after 2,000 years of statelessness and periods of persecution.
Yet despite Israel’s success in creating a new country, it did not enjoy peace with its neighbors. Terrorism and frequent attacks on three borders kept Israel in a perpetual state of alert.
To the North, from the Golan Heights, Syria shelled Jewish communities below on a regular basis. In the South and East, Arab terrorists from Egyptian-controlled Gaza and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank infiltrated and perpetrated attacks on Israeli civilians, killing 400 in the 19 years since Israeli independence.
Surrounded by enemy neighbors and only nine miles wide at its narrowest point, Israel was vulnerable. The attacks reached the point that they were condemned as “deplorable” by then-secretary general of the United Nations U Thant.
Although the Jewish state had been welcomed into the United Nations and hailed by the international community, its Arab neighbors rejected its very right to exist, preparing to resume a war for Israel’s destruction which they had halted 19 years earlier. The Arab buildup for all-out war was very near.
In this video - the first of a 12-part commemorative series
- you will learn about the regional atmosphere leading up to the 1967 Six Day War, and find out about the early steps that led to the war that changed the future of Israel.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.