Playing With Fire: the Six Day War

There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
(Proverbs 6:16-19)

It’s no wonder that in the Six Day War of 1967, the Israelis not only defeated their enemies, but absolutely humiliated them. Between the Russian government which in fact started the Six Day War and the Arab leaders who enthusiastically prepared to attack and annihilate Israel, they were guilty of every one of the seven things Solomon said that God hates.

In May of 1967, Anwar Sadat, then Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament, was in Moscow for what were supposedly routine talks with Soviet Prime Minister Kosygin. But there was a deeper, sinister purpose. Evgeny Pyrlin, of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, said, “The Deputy Foreign Minister saw Anwar Saddat to his plane and gave him a false report that Israeli troops were massing on the Syrian border.” He asked Sadat to report this to Egypt’s President, Abdul Nassir.

In keeping with the Communist goal of spreading Communism over the entire planet, Russia was about to start an Arab / Israeli war. Perlin said, “We believed a war could bring us political gain. Even a stalemate could bring us benefits. Egypt had our backing, both political and military. We thought their forces would demonstrate the benefits of Soviet support. So we were confident that the balance of power in the Middle East would be altered by a localized war.”

A puppet war.

General Fawzi, Nassir’s Chief of Staff, was sent to the Syrian / Israeli border with orders to find out “what the Israelis were up to.” What he found, based on the latest aerial photography, was … nothing.

So the Soviet Ambassador to Egypt came to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and repeated the lie. “Re-confirmed” was the word he used. His fellow Soviet diplomats swiftly spread the lie through the Middle East.

The Soviet Ambassador to Israel even awakened the Prime Minister of Israel at the time, Levi Eshcol at 2:30 in the morning, accusing Israel of massing troops on the Golan Heights. Eshcol offered to go right then to the Golan, with the Russian ambassador, to prove to him that it was not true.

The Soviet ambassador refused.

In Cairo, Nassir had put his armed forces on alert the moment he received the soviet report.”

General Fawzi said in his interview for this documentary that Nassir did not want a war with Israel. Rather, Nassir was thinking of his image in the Arab world, “…so he put on a show of strength, using the armed forces.”

Thinking of his image in the Arab world … because even then, Arabs hated Jews, and you could not be an Arab leader without demonstrating your own hatred of Israel.

Immature little bully-boys should never be given adult authority.

After the 1956 Suez war, the UN had stationed peacekeeping troop at Sharm el Sheik, at the southern end of the Gulf of Aqaba, near the Straits of Tiran. This was Israel’s only trade route with the eastern half of the world.

But Shams Badran, Egypt’s Minister of War, said “The Arab media had been criticizing Nassir. Some countries had accused Abdul Nassir of hiding behind the UN.” (Because of the UN troops forming a buffer zone between Egypt and Israel.) So Nassir ordered them out.

You see how this works? A foreign power, wanting more power, provokes a war between two hostile factions in a critical location. The pride of one national leader and the manufactured hatred of his citizens pushes him to pound his chest and make tough talk. His citizens become inflamed with the dream of annihilating their “enemy”, so the leader has to take another step. He has to actually do something.

General Noufal, Egyptian Army: “Headquarters wanted to expel the UN troops from Sharm el Sheik. I told them, if we do that, Egyptian troops will have to take over at Sharm el Sheik. We will then be obliged to close the straits of Tiran. That will mean war.” Because that would have closed off Israel’s only trade route to the eastern half of the world, and resulted in fairly fast economic strangulation.

You see the additional lies that have been added to the mix?

It would not have been necessary for Egyptian troops to take over Sharm el Sheik. The Israelis were not going to invade Sharm el Sheik.

Egypt was not obliged to close the straits of Tiran. The Israelis were not going to blockade them.

But one lie leads to another. Unjustified hatred leads to lying to justify that hatred. And the lies pave a road to destruction.

Nassir, in the name of Arab solidarity, was going on the offensive.”

The game changed. No longer could Israel watch in disgust as an arrogant man pounded his chest and postured and flouted his macho in front of his people. Now that fool had threatened the existence of Israel. History had already taught Israelis that their Arab “neighbors” wanted them annihilated. Now they saw economic strangulation being prepared for them.

And naturally, another lie followed: Nassir gave a public speech on May 22nd, 1967, in which he claimed that “the Jews” were “threatening war.”

Seriously? The Jews, who had been going about their lives in a completely ordinary fashion, who had not spread dangerous lies about their neighbors, who had not expelled UN peacekeeping troops – those Jews, were threatening to start a war?

Nassir added that “there is no way we will give up our rights to the Gulf of Aqaba.” As if Egypt ever had rights to the Gulf of Aqaba. As if it would have been the act of a civilized nation to economically strangle an inoffensive neighboring nation even if there were rights.

As if anyone had asked Egypt to give up anything related to the Gulf of Aqaba.

The lies just keep getting stupider and dumber and more moronic.

So Israeli citizens began preparing to defend themselves.”

What did Nassir expect?

General Gavish, an Israeli Commander, said, “The commanders told [Prime Minister Eshcol] ‘We have no choice. We have to mobilize. We have to launch an attack within 72 hours. If we give the Egyptians more time, they will pack the Sinai with more and more divisions.’ ”

There it was. From chest-pounding over a lie in order to gain hero status among Arab people, Nassir had propelled the entire Mid East to the edge of war, with no possibility of avoiding it, within a few days. For no other reason than his own image.

Seventy-two hours to war. Imagine the tension, the fear, the despair, the outrage of innocent people suddenly – again – faced with annihilation for no reason:

Beginning on May 16, tens of thousands of Israeli reservists were mobilized. On the home front, storage rooms were turned into air raid shelters. Mass graves were dug in parks and playgrounds. The economy came to a standstill. The Israeli public — the population of only three million was composed heavily of Jews displaced from Arab countries and Holocaust survivors — reacted with existential dread and resolve.”

The Israelis were still attempting to achieve a diplomatic solution, but no nation, including the US, was willing to help. In fact, when Abba Eban, Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister, came to the White House asking for help with a peaceful solution, Lyndon Johnson told him that Israel was in no danger.

Robert McNamara apparently attributes this warning to LBJ at that meeting: ” ‘If you [Israel] go alone, you’ll stand alone.’ That was a very cold-blooded statement. We will not come to your defense if you pre-empt. We cannot come to your defense if you pre-empt.”

And of course, now that the war demon was out of control, Russia told the Egyptians the same thing.

Pogol Akopov, Svt For Ministry, related that Prime Minister Kosygin said, “Tell Nassir, if he strikes first, he will escalate the conflict. He will provoke the superpowers. America will not stand aside.”

No kidding, Kosygin. You should have thought of that first.

Nassir actually accepted this and told his generals to be ready to accept an Israeli first strike. The Air Force chief fervently warned Nassir that accepting a first strike would be crippling. But Nassir replied, “If you let them strike first, you will fight only Israel. But if you strike first, you will have to fight Israel and America.”

And that was the single decision that doomed the Arab attack to failure. Because the Israelis had decided to launch a first strike.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”

It’s too bad for Nassir and Egypt, and Syria, and Jordan, that Nassir hadn’t studied Shakespeare. Nassir tried to draw back from that tide which he had created, and Israel seized it.

” … the war fever in Cairo had become unstoppable. Popular hatred of Israel, which Nassir did nothing to discourage, now swept him forward, and drove other Arab rulers to his side.”

The vicious, untrustworthy character of Nassir was seen when King Hussein of Jordan flew to Egypt at this time. He expressed reluctance to get into this fight. Nassir threatened to take him prisoner and deny that he had ever landed in Egypt. So Hussein caved. He even put his army under Nassir’s command. I suppose he reasoned that when the smoke cleared he could point out that it was Nassir who was in charge. I suppose he thought that would excuse him.

Never trust a criminal partner. “There is no honor among thieves” is an old and true saying.

Israel had now been fully mobilized for more than two weeks. “All males aged 18 to 55 were called to serve. Most vehicles were requisitioned. Most factories closed.”

No nation, especially such a small nation as Israel, can stand that for long. When work essentially ceases, the economy dies. When the economy dies, people go hungry and nations can’t defend themselves. It is a vise that quickly squeezes the life out of them.

Eshcol’s generals were at the point that at least one of them was shouting at him to launch the war. Eshcol appointed a new Minister of Defense – Moshe Dayan, a hero of the Suez War.

General Meir Amit, head of Mossad, related this conversation with Prime Miniister Eshcol at this eleventh hour moment: “He said, ‘Meir, you go to Washington and find out what’s going on there. Are the Americans organizing a naval task force? Is anybody going to do anything? When? See if the Americans plan to open the Straits of Tiran.”

>crickets<

This was, in my opinion, one of the most shameful moments in America’s history.

Gen Amit said that “the director of the CIA made it perfectly clear – there is no international naval force. There are no American plans for action. There is no task force.”

Gen Meir Amit “raced back to Israel” and “gave a detailed report” and said, ” ‘I recommend we launch the war as soon as possible.’ Not one of the ministers disagreed.”

BUT. Because President Eisenhower in 1956 had made a promise to Israel that America would ensure that the Straits of Tiran would remain open to Israel, at least Israel gained assurance that America would no longer oppose Israel acting on its own.

So on June 5th, 180 Israeli warplanes left the ground, leaving only twelve fighters behind to defend Israel. Forty-five minutes. They needed extra fuel tanks to get there.

They went eastward, out over the Mediterranean Sea, and turned south to come in behind the Egyptian airfields. As in “the Raid on the Reactor” a Jordanian ship saw them and sent a coded message to Egypt warning of the attack.

I swear to you, I am not confusing this with “the Raid on the Reactor”. In an eerie Twilight Zone moment, a remarkably similar event happened then. But this was a different incident.

Of course, the warning was given and the Egyptian fighters rose to meet the attack and the Israeli planes were blasted out of the sky. Right?

Wrong. The Egyptians had changed their code the day before and somehow had not told their Jordanian brothers. The message was not decoded until too late.

At 7:45 am, the Israeli planes swept in and caught the Egyptian MIGs on the ground – seconds away from takeoff. The pilots were in their cockpits. 95% of the Egyptian aircraft were destroyed.

Anyone still think the God of the Bible is not real?

General Noufal was at the Egyptian Command Post all alone – because Nassir and the entire military brass had gotten into a plane and gone to inspect the front line – which was by then under attack.

They got the word and turned around. When they landed, their staff cars had already left. They had to catch a taxi back to the Command Post.

In the Sinai Desert, Egypt had three times as many tanks as Israel. But suddenly there was no air cover, and the counter attack plan, which depended on air cover for those tanks, was junk. Just as those tanks soon were.

The commander in the field did not wait for Nassir to give the order to retreat. (Which he did.) The commander gave the order on his own. The Egyptian tanks fled in total disarray. They didn’t protect each other. There was no plan.

If you want to see what I call “the original Highway of Death, in the video just above, go to 2:00 – 2:17.

Israeli dead: 338. Egyptian dead: 15,000.

The Israelis originally had no intention of taking back the Golan Heights. On the morning of June 5th, they had sent a message to King Hussein of Jordan via American channels, telling him “The war is between us and the Egyptians. If you stay out, nothing will happen.” But alas, King Hussein had placed his army under Egyptian control, and so they attacked, and Jordan lost soldiers and tanks and the Golan Heights. King Hussein had to have been eating his own liver over the disaster. This was undoubtedly why, when the Yom Kippur War was about to begin, Hussein flew alone to Israel and personally warned Gold Meir.

” …about 10:30, he started shelling Jerusalem. In the [Israeli] Command Post … we said, ‘This is not nice. We’ll take on Hussein.’ ”

It took 10 hours of street fighting to defeat the Jordanian troops. Then the Israeli goal changed to keeping Jerusalem united under Israel.

Robert McNamara said, “The Soviets made it very clear that they would intervene militarily, and very likely, they would not only turn Israel back from its attack on Syria, but they would join Syria in an effort to deal a mortal blow to Israel.”

There were Soviet forces in Syria already.

The Israelis pressed on into the Golan – and encountered no Soviet Forces. Because President Johnson had raised the stakes.”

:E :E :E     For once, LBJ, you did the right thing.

“[President Johnson] asked McNamara what distance the American fleet was [from Israel] at the time, and he said a hundred miles … and the President said, ‘Move to within 50 miles’, knowing that the fleet was shadowed by Soviet electronic ships.”

(The fleet was on its way to a training mission at Gibraltar. My, what a coincidence.)

And the Israelis tidied up and the Six Day War was over.

That week, LBJ was hosting a summit for PM Kosygin. (What does that mean?) Wanting to appear as peacemakers at the UN, the two had a peace resolution drafted, which Israel was willing to accept. It would have returned all the territory Israel had taken (three times its own size) but left Jerusalem in Jewish hands.

Anatoly Dobrynin, the Soviet ambassador to the US, recounted that “When the resolution was proposed, Israel was ready to accept it. But Egypt’s Foreign Minister was utterly against the resolution, because it indirectly implied Israel’s right to exist, and he wouldn’t have that at all.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Nassir made a stage play of announcing his resignation, but “bowed to the will of the people” and recanted it. Having escaped blame, he blamed “his old friend” Amir and had him arrested. Strangely, Amir died in custody. A suicide, no doubt.

As mentioned in the previous article in this series, the Arab leaders were so utterly humiliated that they soon held their own summit and pledged never to negotiate with Israel, never to make peace with Israel, and never to recognize the state of Israel.

So the seeds of the next war were sown on fields freshly plowed by war.

Have a blessed RED Friday, and please keep our brave soldiers in your thoughts and prayers today and every day.

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