Six Day War of 1967 - 3rd Arab Israeli War




"Every one of the hundred million Arabs has been living ... to see the day Israel is liquidated"

Cairo Radio’s Voice of the Arabs broadcast,
May 18th 1967.






Personal recollections from those within Israel

Click on any link below for that person's more detailed account

The lead up...

Winston Churchill's Six Day War recollections (Winston Churchill, jnr, was in Israel as war correspondent for the News of the World - he is the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.)

"We used to have a very regular Shabbat schedule - the morning would start with an encounter with the Arab Legion snipers. They shot at us out of sheer boredom.[more...] A childhood in Musrara, on the line between west and east Jerusalem - Avi Elzam

"What appeared at first to be no more than bluster and verbal provocation turned almost overnight into a threat to our existence."[more...] - Henry Near

"For Israel, the waiting was excruciating and debilitating. Israel's citizen army had to be mobilized. As its soldiers waited on the various fronts for the world to rescue the nation from its peril, Israeli society ground to a halt and its economy began bleeding to death. Army Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin, later to be hailed as a war hero and even later as a martyred man of peace, had a nervous breakdown. He was incapacitated to the point of incoherence by the unbearable tension of waiting with the life of his country in the balance, knowing that waiting too long would allow the armies of 100 million Arabs to strike first his country of 3 million." [more...] Charles Krauthammer

The newspaper seller was in the very act of stretching out his hand towards the paper I wanted when suddenly the voice caught his attention. His eyes widened and said, as if in surprise 'Oh! They've called me up too'. [more...] - Abba Kovner

There were also the grim preparations that had to be kept secret: the parks in each city that had been consecrated for possible use as mass cemetaries.[more...] - Golda Meir

"...if you examine the days leading up to the war, you will see that the feeling among the Israeli public, and even among many government ministers, was that of the eve of a holocaust." [more...] Menashe (Muni) Ben-Ari

The kibbutz, like the rest of Israel, wasn't prepared. Most people didn't have air raid shelters. I remember helping to dig a trench outside my cousin's home, in the industrial zone of Haifa Bay.[more...] - Rona and Michal

When the postmen were called up by the army, the children took over delivering the mail.[more...]- Linda Bennett

We have the news on now, Egypt and Jordan have suddenly agreed on something. The way Radio Jordan was going on about Nasser the other week, I rather hoped he and Hussein would poison each other off in Cairo. - [more...] Rona Hart


"In the early morning hours of Monday, June 5, 1967, the sun was already heating everything up around the Tel Nof airbase. Some of us were making our way to the mess hall of the base as Jordanian artillery shells shook the earth. Fragments reached our barracks, puncturing the outer walls with significant holes. Located in central Israel, the airbase was just a few miles away from a Jordanian base." [more] - Joseph Puder

"I suddenly noticed a Jordanian soldier from behind me. He looked into my eyes and was about to shoot me. It was an amazing moment: we were staring at each other for what seemed an eternity." [more...] - Uri Geller

"I was Third Officer on a British Merchant ship when we were in the last south-bound convoy through the Canal" - Recollections of a merchant sailor NEW

"It was face-to-face fighting. I fought like a tiger. My friend was shot in the backside and he was about to be shot again by a Jordanian. I shot him. Another Jordanian saw I was out of bullets and he charged at me with a bayonet. I don't know how I did it, but I took his gun and shot him with it. It was brutal, and a sad victory. I lost many friends. After the fighting we built a memorial to our friends - and one to the Jordanians, in honour of their bravery." [more...] Yitzak Yifat, one of the three iconic paratroopers depicted on David Rubinger's picture.

Shabbat saved my life! - a remarkable and moving account by Shmuel Gurewicz, a Lubavitcher Chassid, who was called up to fight in the Six Day War.

"Suddenly the buses stopped, and our commander said to us 'Put your helmets on, put your magazines in your guns and get yourselves ready, because in a few minutes you'll be fighting,'" recalls Schwartz. "We started to laugh, and he didn't understand why, and we said, 'Commander, we learned how to fight in the Sinai desert, we don't even know where we are right now.' He said to us, 'You're in Jerusalem, on a street called Shmuel Hanavi, and as soon as we get to the corner of Shimon Hatzadik you're going to get off the buses very quietly and start fighting.'" [more...] Balagan's place in history

"Much time was spent in foxholes, anxiously looking east towards the Hebron Hills and the villages of Bet Awa and Idna, where Jordanian soldiers had been stationed for two weeks and where armoured vehicles had been spotted." [more...] - Yisrael Medad

"When the barrage lifted, the paratroop battalion opposite Ammunition Hill started forward. On nearby Rehov Shmuel Hanavi, a Jerusalem Brigade intelligence officer was transfixed by a keening sound. It was a moment before he recognized it with a chill as the sound of men charging into battle.

The paratroopers had to cross 150 meters of no-man's-land, parts of it sown with mines. The intensive shelling had been intended in part to detonate them, but the results could not be known. The men were to run forward in single file. If someone stepped on a mine, those behind were to pass over him and continue forward.

In the event, the entire battalion crossed safely. But in a fierce battle that continued well after sunrise, 24 paratroopers died in the trenches of Ammunition Hill together with 80 Jordanians..." City Under Siege - Abraham Rabinovich Jerusalem Post 14th May 2007

Letters from the war zone... [more...] Rona Hart

"For the first couple of days there was shelling from the United Nations building (captured by the Jordanians on the first day of the war) which landed around our house." [more...] Josephine Bacon

"At dawn the next morning, I was heading north in a fire-engine red Ford Mustang and learning more lessons about the logistics of Israel’s military predicament. The entire trip to the Golan Heights, where major tank battles already raged, took less than three hours. Along the way, I picked up hitchhikers, clad in military fatigues, trying to reach their units..." [more...]- Sol Stern, reporter from New York Times

At a certain point in the battle only 4 soldiers remained by me. We arrived there with a force of two platoons.[more...] - Yoram Taharlev

I remember sleeping on the floor, in my clothes, thinking there would be bound to be more air raids during the night, and the radio playing Psalms... [more...] - Rona Hart


"I remember when I first went to the Kotel [2], that sense of epiphany…. The Kotel was only open to Jews. You're still surrounded by barbed wire and all kinds of warnings for land mines…" [more...] - Amotz Asa-El

Two soldiers share their experiences of being at the Western Wall when it was liberated - very moving

"...You'd stand by the Wall praying with Jews, you'd hear the muezzin praying from above, you'd hear bells ringing from afar, and it all seemed to be harmonizing.[more...] - Amotz Asa-El

"...In total, two hundred thousand visited the Western Wall that day. It was the first pilgrimage, en masse, of Jews to Jewish-controlled Jerusalem on a Jewish festival in two thousand years, since the pilgrimages for the festivals in Temple times..." IsraelInsider remembers