In the spring of 1967, following close to a decade of relative calm, Israel found itself poised for war against four of its Arab neighbors.
According to all the military analysts and pundits, it was to be a lopsided match. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) consisted of 275,000 troops, compared to the 456,000 soldiers of the combined Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian armies. The united Arab forces also had a decided edge with regards to weaponry and military equipment: they boasted more than double the amount of tanks, and close to four times the amount of combat aircraft. The three-week period preceding the Six-Day War was one of dread, shock and fright for the residents of the Holy Land.
With close to two and a half million Jews living in the tiny country, it had the highest concentration of Jews since pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe. So pessimistic was the outlook that the nation’s cemeteries and national parks were marked to become gravesites for the many who would surely perish in the course of the war.
However, despite all the prognostications, by the time the war ended, the territory under Israeli control had tripled in size. Jews returned to sites where their ancestors had lived for thousands of years, sites from which waves of terror were launched against them for so many years. The casualties and losses were painful, but minimal in comparison to all projections. The Jewish nation was miraculously victorious in the face of unbelievable odds.
Here is a story to bring the point home:
In 1974, Rabbi Asher Wade, a US Army chaplain, befriended a Jewish American officer named Stuart. Stuart did not strike him as being a religious man and so Rabbi Wade was surprised one day to see Stuart wearing a yarmulke (skullcap). Upon questioning Stuart’s reasons for donning this unconventional attire, Stuart told Rabbi Wade the fascinating story behind it.
As part of their first year studies, cadets were enrolled in a course called "History of Military Tactics & Field Strategies," taught be a Three Star Lieutenant General with a Ph.D. in military strategy. The course surveyed the major battles in history, including those of the Ptolemies, the Romans, the Middle Ages, and down to the latest battles of our modern era.
During the final two weeks of the course, which were devoted to reviewing the material, Cadet Stuart raised his hand with a question, "Why did we not survey any of the battles fought by the Jews, either of ancient times (i.e. Roman-Jewish wars) or of modern times (i.e. Arab-Israeli wars)?"
"The normally friendly general snapped back with an order for me to see him in his office after class," remembered Stuart. Upon entering the general’s office, Stuart was ordered to close and lock the door. "The general then told me that he would only answer my question in the privacy of his office," said Stuart.
"Do not think that the staff here at West Point has left the Jewish wars unnoticed," began the general, "We have examined and analyzed them and we do not teach them at West Point. According to military strategy and textbook tactics, the Jews should have lost them. You should have been swept into the dustbin of history long ago. But you were not. You won those wars against all odds and against all military strategies and logic."
"This past year, we hired a new junior instructor. During a private staff meeting and discussion, the Arab-Israeli wars came under discussion. We puzzled at how you won those wars. Suddenly, this junior instructor chirped up and jokingly said, ‘honorable gentlemen. It seems to be quite obvious how they are winning their wars: G-d is winning their wars!’ Nobody laughed. The reason is, soldier, that it seems to be an unwritten rule around here at West Point that G-d is winning your wars, but G-d does not fit into military textbooks! You are dismissed," concluded the general.
"I left the general’s office," continued Stuart, "I had never been so humiliated in my life. I felt about two inches tall." "Wouldn’t you know it," I said to myself, "that I would have to come to West Point and find our how great my G-d is from a non practicing presbyterian three star general."
I went back to my dorm room," continued Stuart, and dug down in my sock drawer to find that ‘flap of cloth’ that I threw on my head once a year. I said to myself: This thing is going on my head, because I found, in essence, who I was and where I came from."
Did you ever wonder how Israel regathered as a nation after nearly 2,000 years in dispersion? Did you ever wonder how this tiny nation defeated bigger and more powerful armies over and over again to survive. Did you know there are dozens of accounts of similar miracles in the history of modern Israel – with some of them paralleling actual Bible accounts of old?
Tags: arab forces, arab neighbors, asher, combat aircraft, holy land, israel defense forces, israel defense forces idf, israeli control, jewish nation, military analysts, military equipment, military tactics, prognostications, relative calm, religious man, skullcap, tiny country, unbelievable odds, us army chaplain, waves of terror