On This Day

Six-Day War

Egyptian aircraft destroyed by an Israeli airstrike at the beginning of the Six-Day War on June 5, 1967
Egyptian aircraft destroyed by an Israeli airstrike at the beginning of the Six-Day War on June 5, 1967

Historical Context

There had been a long period of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors after the 1948 war following Israel's declaration of independence. The Suez Crisis in 1956 had seen Israel invade the Sinai Peninsula backed by military action with France and Britain. One of the objectives of that operation had been re-opening the Straits of Tiran, closed by Egypt to Israeli shipping since 1950.

Relations were still very cold between the powers when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced in May 1967 that the Straits would again be closed to Israeli shipping, despite the latter having stated this would lead to war. After a period of military preparation and diplomatic maneuvering, Israel launched a devastating series of airstrikes against Egypt which all but destroyed the Egyptian Air Force and gave Israel air superiority for the duration of the conflict.

Israeli ground forces attacked the Sinai and conquered it in a matter of days. At the same time, they defeated the Jordanian forces in the West Bank, occupying it by 7 June. On 9 June, Israel attacked Syrian positions in the Golan Heights, taking the territory by the next day, after which the Arab states signed peace treaties with Israel.

Israel's success stunned the world, led to weeks of national euphoria and saw a global renewed interest in the country. Many Jews were expelled from Arab countries in response, and Nasser resigned, but mass demonstrations in support of him led him to reverse his decision. The war led to a sense of overconfidence in the Israeli Defense Force, which led to initial Arab success in the subsequent 1973 war, although Israel eventually prevailed in this war also.

Photo Info

Photographer: Unknown
Date taken: June 5, 1967
Location taken: Egypt

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1967-06-05 Six-Day War begins between Israel and the neighboring Arab states of Egypt, Jordan and Syria
  • 1967-06-06 Israeli troops occupy Gaza during second day of the Six-Day War

Historical Photos