Israel [will] not initiate hostilities “…until or unless (Egyptian forces) close the Straits of Tiran to free navigation by Israel” – Prime Minister Levi Eshkol message to France’s President de Gaulle.
Imagine being surrounded by your angry neighbors and being threatened to be erased from the map. If you are an Israeli, you don't have to imagine: this was a reality for 6 days in 1967.
Although the Six Day War's first catalysts sprung from the unresolved hostilities of the First Arab-Israeli War just a year after our independence, its first shot was fired in April 1967 when Syria shot an Israeli tractor in the demilitarized zone, which the former considered as an encroachment to their territory. These tensions were heightened by misinformation and propaganda planted by the Soviet Union, leading to Egypt's expulsion of UN Peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula, further inflamed by their blockade of the Strait of Tiran. With the
But perhaps what's better to commemorate today is the fact that our country, the State of Israel, has overcome insurmountable odds in this war. For better or for worse, our success today can be traced all the way back to the Six Day War. With our victory came the reunification of our Eternal Capital, Jerusalem, the liberation of the city of Hebron, and the return of many of our historic territories to our nation's embrace. No other war has become decisive in the formation and development of the current State of Israel.
We also would like to take this chance to commemorate our war heroes who died or were injured during the Six Day War. Their gallantry in defending the State of Israel and the Jewish people will never be forgotten. May the memories of the more than 700 IDF soldiers slain during the War, dead war veterans, and other casualties of the war be a blessing to their families and to us all.