Today, I was reminded that long ago — 1967 in fact — the Six Day War took place in the Middle East (June 5 – 10). At a time when Israel was in a struggle for its very existence, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon posed on her borders with 465,000 troops, 2,800 tanks and 800 aircraft. Strong and provocative words were heard throughout the Middle East. But perhaps, the most ominous came from the then-President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nassar: “… In other words, we aim at the destruction of the state of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel.”
On June 5, Israel could wait no longer, fearing it would not survive what was surely an imminent attack. Early that June morning, the entire Israeli Air Force (except for 12 fighters left to guard Israeli air space) took to the skies. Two hours later — 300 Egyptian aircraft were destroyed. By day’s end — almost all of Egyptian and Jordanian air forces (and half of Syria’s) were destroyed. Israel had defended its borders with a highly-successful preemptive attack.
By then, the fierce battles had attracted the attention of the Soviets who threatened to intervene. The U.S., who politically had taken a back seat position, strongly urged Israel to agree to a cease fire. It did so on June 10, 1967.