The Waiting Period “The last one out turns off the light.”
The three weeks before the war broke out were characterized by great anxiety and mounting fear. The Arab armies were readying themselves for war and there was a mood of doom and fear for Israel’s existence. This feeling was expressed in the sentence, “The last one out turns off the light.”
The reserves were called up to prepare for the looming war. The army wanted to take the initiative; however, the government headed by Levi Eshkol, was hesitant and wanted to settle the disagreements through peaceful means.
The Outbreak of War
The Arab armies continued to arm themselves. The tension in Israel was unbearable and the arguments were heated. And then on June 5, 1967, Israel set out to war against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Within six days, the IDF defeated the armies of these three countries, conquered Judea and Samaria, the Golan, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. By the end of this lightning war, on June 10, 1967, Israel had more than doubled its territory. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel was reunited after 19 years in which the city was divided between Israel and Jordan.
The Results of the War
From a security point of view, Israel improved its situation. It doubled its territory. The new borders provided strategic depth and distanced the enemy from Jewish settlements. The IDF’s deterrent power reached its greatest height. The IDF was seen as an army with formidable strength.
Israel’s economic situation also improved. Following Israel’s lightning victory, investments in Israel resumed. Businessmen began to invest in Israel and the Jews of the world contributed money to the country.
The mood of the country changed. There was a feeling of euphoria after the Six Day War. The people of Israel were optimistic about the country’s future. After a period of unbearable tension, a feeling of relief swept the country. They were proud of the IDF’s achievements, of the return to the holy sites, to the Land of the Bible, of the reunification of Jerusalem. The IDF was an object of adoration. There was a flood of war movies and victory albums> Many songs were written about the war.
From a political standpoint, the Six Day War was a milestone in the history of Israel. The results of the war led to the start of a bitter political dispute between the left and the right regarding the future of Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai. Should the State regard these area as part of the Homeland or as territories which should be returned to the Arabs.
And in the world, Israel as viewed with mixed feelings. On the one hand, Israel was greatly admired because of its achievements in the war. On the other hand, political struggles began and there was international pressure for Israel to withdraw from the conquered territories.
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