The year is 1967. There were confident predictions in the fledgling State of Israel that Nasser, the President of Egypt wouldn’t dare start with Israel after his defeat in 1956. Relations between Egypt and Jordan weren’t good, a coalition didn’t seem viable and this too led to a feeling of security.

However, Syria lost thirteen planes in a clash in the air and as result Russia, who is an ally of Syria, prodded Nasser to send troops to Sinai. Nasser did so, as well as demanding the withdrawal of the UN and closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping on the twenty-third of May. He then proceeded to taunt Yitzchak Rabin, Israel’s Chief of Staff at the time saying, “Let him come. I’m waiting.”

Nasser succeeded in coordinating with Syria, leading to King Hussein placing his forces under Egyptian control. Israel waited tensely for three agonizing weeks. Israel seemed alone. The Big Powers did nothing to reopen the Straits. Israel decided to go it alone.

Despite Nasser’s taunts, Egypt was not ready for Israel when it surprised Egypt on the fifth of June 1967 with an attack of their air force.

In the shockingly short time span of six days, Israel succeeded in overrunning the entire Sinai peninsula and captured the west bank of the River Jordan. A considerable part of the Golan Heights was also captured in the last days, including the powerful Mount Hermon which from thereon became “the eyes and ears of Israel”.

On June 7, 1967, IDF (Israel Defense Forces) paratroopers advanced through the Old City of Jerusalem, towards the Temple Mount and the Western Wall (a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the holy Temple’s courtyard). They were bringing the holiest site in the holiest city in the world under Jewish control for the first time in two-thousand years.

Lt. General Mordechai Gur announced to his commanders, “We’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City‚Ķ”. Shortly afterwards, as captured by recordings he proclaims the legendary, “The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!”.

General Rabbi Shlomo Goren who at the time was the chief chaplain of the IDF then proceeded to sound the Shofar at the Western Wall signifying its liberation. Paratroopers around Goren were weeping loudly, shouting joyfully and praying for their comrades who had fallen along the way. The national anthem Hatikvah reverberated off the stones of the Western Wall and G-d looked down as His tired, jubilant and pained children and opened the heavens to the wail of the Shofar, which carried with it the renewed hope of a nation who had had finally come home after two-thousand years.

 

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