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  • Watch and Pray

50th Anniversary of the 1967 War Part 1

This is a three part article that I initially drafted in June and July and subsequently posted on the website of the church I attend.

On Wednesday 7th June 2017, for the first time, Israeli Knesset and US Congress would be celebrating the belated Jerusalem Day, officially celebrated on 24 May. Yom Yerushalayi also known as Jerusalem Day, is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli control after the Six-Day War. The first time Jews controlled Jerusalem since the Destruction of the Second Holy Temple by the Romans in 70 AD and this month is also the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war.

This war defined to me, and many others, the undisputable hand of God because, Israel against all the odds, won the war. You don’t need to be a Christian or even a Jew to recognise that the impossible became possible that year. Israel was outnumbered in troops, arms and weapon like Israel’s remarkable wars led by Joshua, Jehoshaphat, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, David and so many others. I encourage you to visit this site as it provides comprehensive detail of the war, the people and the nations involved.

After the holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were massacred, and the ending of World War II in 1945, 3 years later Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948.

“Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day, or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her.” (Isaiah 66:8-10).

Never, in the history of the world had any nation been so thoroughly destroyed, it's people scattered to the "four corners of the earth" and then returned to the very place they had started.

The reality of what happened during the six days, 5th – 10th June 1967, became very real and awe inspiring when, at our bible study, one of our elders, Pastor Stephen recalled this period exuberantly, as though it was yesterday, telling us the news that the world woke up to and the awful terror facing Israel. There are many such stories been told by Jewish elders to the next generations and some of these stories are told, thank God, in many of the Jewish sites. There is nothing like firsthand witness of events, because too many times history is distorted by others specially when it concerns Israel. During the mobilisation period on May 23 1967, one such story records the story of a veteran of the British army, wanting to fight but was prevented because of his age. After insisting to join, he was told that his unit would only take him back if he brought a jeep. The next day he turned up with one from Hertz.

Contrary to some media outlets and academia it wasn’t Israel that started the war but it was the Soviet Union. On May 13, 1967, they falsely alerted Arab nations that Israel had massed troops near the Israeli-Syrian border in preparation for an attack on Syria. Led by Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, with support from Jordan, Syria, and Iraq and additional help from other Arab nations, war was declared. On May 18, 1967, Cairo Radio announced, “The Zionist barrack in Palestine is about to collapse and be destroyed. Every one of the 100 million Arabs has been living for the past 19 years on one hope – to live to see the day Israel is liquidated… The sole method we shall apply against Israel is a total war which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.”

Nobody came to their rescue not even the USA. This is what President Lyndon Johnson said at the time when Israel needed help: "Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone." Then, when the war began, the State Department announced: "Our position is neutral in thought, word and deed."

Even the though the ranting of the Arab nations were quoted in many media outlets, none of the international communities intervened. Israel was alone, almost. These are selection of crucial quotes given before and during the war:

Syria's forces are "ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united.... I as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation." – Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad

May 20, 1967

"Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight," he said on May 27. The following day, he added: "We will not accept any...coexistence with Israel...Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel....The war with Israel is in effect since 1948." President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt

May 27 & 28, 1967

"All of the Arab armies now surround Israel. The UAR, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan, and Kuwait. ... There is no difference between one Arab people and another, no difference between one Arab army and another." King Hussein of Jordan, after signing the pact with Egypt.

May 30, 1967

"The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map. We shall, God willing, meet in Tel Aviv and Haifa." President Abdel Rahman Aref of Iraq

May 31, 1967

A Land, a People, and a Blessing

Winston Churchill wrote “Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.“

In like manner Mark Twain wrote: 'All things are mortal, except the Jew. Other forces pass but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?'

The answer is the God of Israel – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That is the secret.

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