How Israel Really Won the 6-Day War: An Israeli Army Officer's Story
Map of 6-Day War
This post is about an event that took place over forty years ago during the 1967 6-Day War in Israel...a miraculous event that, by one account, determined the war’s outcome and gave Israel her victory. It is timely now since there is currently a move to divest Israel of more land; Jerusalem...and in particular, the Golan Heights.
My trip to Israel and How I came to Hear Josi's Story
My son, Joshua, and I visited Israel with 17 others from my church in California shortly after Pope John was there in the spring of 2000. Our guide was a former Israeli army officer and veteran of the 6-Day War named Josi (Joseph). The first several days of our trip we stayed in Tiberius exploring the historic places around Galilee. One day, Josi surprised us all by persuading our Palestinian bus driver to take us to the top of the Golan Heights overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
This part of the Golan is close to the Syrian border and is fenced in with barbed wire in many places. There are yellow signs posted warning people of live mines in the area. We could still see evidence of the battle that took place over 35 years earlier…shell craters and vacant buildings with bullet holes in them. Josi took us to a Syrian bunker perched over 1,000 feet above Galilee where we could see Jewish settlements directly below us on its shores. Standing on top of this bunker, with the Sea of Galilee and Israel spread out below him, Josi told us a story I will never forget…the story of how God miraculously intervened to save Israel during the 6-Day War.
(Why did Josi risk taking a group of American pilgrims into a restricted area like the Golan Heights? He explained it was critical for Americans to understand how vitally important the Golan Heights are to Israel's survival. He asked us to tell others...and that is why I am passing it on to you).
Before the 6-Day War, the Syrians used this bunker and others like it to shoot artillery shells directly into the Jewish settlements below them. From this vantage point they could kill Israeli citizens with impunity as Israel was unable to adequately respond to such attacks. When the war started, Syria stationed hundreds of tanks, heavy artillery and infantry at this and other high positions along Israel's eastern border. Israel knew they had to take the Golan Heights quickly or lose the war. With their country's survival hanging in the balance, Josi’s battalion was assigned to take this very bunker. Almost certainly it was a suicide mission but they had to try.
First, another company (not Josi’s) attacked it from below, going up the steep face of the cliff against the Syrian armor. There were no survivors.
The next day, Josi’s company prepared to attack. He and his men expected to die but, strangely, they didn’t come under any fire this time. Not a single shot was fired as they climbed toward their objective. When Josi got to the bunker, he found the Syrians were gone! The place looked like it had been abandoned in a hurry with food still warm on the cooking fires.
Why Israel Won the War
During the course of the war negotiations for peace were going on continuously at the United Nations in New York. On the battlefield, soldiers from both sides of the conflict listened, when they could, to news coming out of the UN. After the battle, Josi learned that he…and Israel...owed their victory to a UN broadcast that was transmitted that day in error! The broadcast mistakenly said that Israel had won the war. When the Syrians heard the news they had lost they fled from their positions giving Israel the victory!
Please Pray for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem...and that the Lord gives our leaders Godly wisdom during their peace negotiations.