“Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles and the judgments He pronounced, O descendants of Abraham, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones. He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth.” (Psalm 105:5-7).
Jewish tradition based on the Scriptures encourages us to remember YHVH’s deeds in history. This is because He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. In “re-membering” what He has done in the past, we re-visit and re-join ourselves, in a real sense, to God’s interaction with our people through the ages. Presently re-membering the past helps equip and embolden us to walk in His ways in future. We know Him better and love Him more.
The past few days, Jewish communities have been remembering Israel’s historic Six Day War of June 5-10, 1967. The war ended, against all odds, with Israel’s stunning victory in six days over the combined armies of her surrounding enemy states. Israeli losses were heavy. And over time, most of the territory gained has been returned in exchange for promises or hopes for peace. But back in 1967 most Jews—as well as Western Christians—viewed the war’s turnout as nothing less than miraculous.
As you may know, Jewish holidays are based on the Hebrew, rather than international Gregorian calendar. But the Six Day War is not remembered as a Jewish holiday. Instead, Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) officially commemorates the climax of the war, the Holy City’s prophetic return to Jewish leadership. The holiday is based on the Hebrew calendar and often occurs in May.
But in 2015 the international community is feverishly pushing to create a Palestinian state from biblical land, including Jerusalem, that fell to Israel in the Six Day War. For that reason, certain aspects about the war are worth re-membering at this time. As you do, be encouraged! If you’re a Gentile, God’s covenant faithfulness to you personally as a follower of Messiah reflects His covenant faithfulness to the Jews. And if you want what’s best for the Palestinians, align with biblical justice in support of them.
To start, in 1967 Israeli troops were outnumbered by their enemies approximately 2:1. In addition, she was highly under-equipped against the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan. The world expected Israel to lose the war—which would, in effect, mean the annihilation of the Jewish state. But God intervened. Here’s a short list of six documented military events regarded by many as miraculous. (There were plenty more.)
1. In a defensive pre-emptive strike on June 5, the Israeli air force flew over and destroyed one Egyptian military air fleet after another for three straight hours. Apparently, no Egyptian air base tried to inform the others of the attacks. Meanwhile, an advance warning by Jordan of the air assault failed because Egypt had changed their warning codes the day before. This victory proved key to the outcome of the war.
2. The battle of Shechem in the West Bank (illegally annexed by Jordan since 1948) was expected to be one of the hardest and bloodiest. But when Israeli forces approached the town from an unexpected direction—east instead of west—heavily armed Arabs in Shechem mistook them as Iraqi reinforcements arriving from the east. As a result, the Israelis were warmly welcomed and the city easily fell into their hands. This helped Israel re-gain much of the rest of the West Bank from Jordan with minimal resistance.
3. Israel was particularly outnumbered and under-equipped in the Golan Heights against Syrian troops. But in a watershed battle, as the IDF advanced, many of the Syrians quickly pulled out of position and fled in chaos. Most of their weaponry was dropped and left behind. Afterwards, some said they’d seen frightening visions, there on the battlefield, of Abraham. The patriarch was reportedly warning them not to harm the Jews.
4. Within a couple of days of Israel’s airstrike on its military planes, Egypt began blowing up or abandoning its other military bases, seemingly inexplicably. As a result, Israel easily took both the Sinai and Gaza, the latter of which Egypt had illegally annexed in 1948.
5. An IDF truck stockpiled with explosive ammunition, desperately needed to rearm Jewish troops, was directly hit by a live grenade. This should have caused the truck to instantly explode and destroy surrounding facilities and troops. But the grenade landed quietly on top of the truck—–where it sat until dismantled and removed. This sort of incident reportedly occurred throughout the war.
6. International pressure forced Israel to accept a ceasefire proposed by King Hussein of Jordan. But at the last moment, Hussein nixed essential terms of the ceasefire he himself had initiated. This gave Israel the extra time needed to annihilate their enemies’ military infrastructure—and restore Jewish leadership over the Old City of Jerusalem.
Radio communications on 6/7/67 between Israeli troops approaching the Old City and their commanders at the “David Operations Room” have been made public. Hear how excerpts from these communiqué reflect the heartbeat of a God faithful to His ancient covenant people: “… Shortly we’re going to go into the Old City of Jerusalem that all generations have dreamed about. … Ahead we go, through the Lion’s Gate! … I’m with the first unit to break through into the Old City. … The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands! … All forces, stop firing. This is the David Operations Room. All forces, stop firing! … I’m walking right now down the steps towards the Western Wall. I’m not a religious man, I never have been, but this is the Western Wall and I’m touching the stones of the Western Wall. … [The soldiers spontaneously pray together:] ‘Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, she-hechianu ve-kiemanu ve-hegianu la-zman ha-zeh’.” (Blessed are You, Lord God, King of the Universe, Who has sustained us, kept us and brought us to this day.) The military chaplain blows the shofar./1/
The seventh day after the war began, Israel rested. Let us remember that when the hour appears darkest, the future desperately daunting, and odds seemed stacked against us, YHVH’s glory is at hand.
2. Other reference sources include israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/122435#.VXZB50Zb5qA; cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2007/June/Israels-1967-Miracle/; chabad.org/…/timeline_cdo/aid/525341/jewish/Introduction.htm; Oren, Michael B., Six Days of War: Six Days of War and the Making of the Modern Middle East, (NY: The Random House Ballentine Publishing Group, 2003).