This year we celebrated the anniversary of the victory in the amazing Six Day War. To this day, the victory in this war is considered one of the most impressive in all of world military history. It is not without reason that the battles and operations of the Six Day War are taught in military academies around the world.
On the eve of the Six Day War, Israel was faced with an enormous existential threat. It had to confront the enemy on three fronts at once, in the air, on land and at sea. The suffocating circle of the Arab blockade, squeezing Israel from all sides, horrified many in the country as well as abroad. The anxiety and fear of the coming challenges were also apparent in Israel’s political and military leadership. The hesitant and nervous speech of Prime Minister Eshkol at the time was a clear reflection of this grave state of mind. So, too, did the psychological breakdown of Chief of General Staff Rabin in the days leading up to the war — an event that was then kept in the strictest secrecy for many decades.
However, almost as soon as the war began, the world was shocked by the incredible and swift defeat of all the Arab armies on literally all fronts. The excited people of Israel received an incredible miracle — the return to the land of their fathers — the city of the patriarchs Hebron, to the tomb of our foremother Rachel, but above all — to Yerushalayim, to the Temple Mount and its Western Wall (HaKotel HaMa’aravi) — the only part of the Holy Temple of Yerushalayim that has survived since ancient times. For the first time Israel also acquired borders that the country could defend: in the north — the Golan Heights, in the center — the mountains of Samaria and the Jordan Valley, and in the south — a natural barrier — the Suez Canal and the vast expanses of the oil-rich Sinai Peninsula.
The necessary requirement for Operation “Focus” was unexpectedness
The Arab air force, and especially the Egyptian air force, which itself was twice the size of the Israeli air force, represented a serious threat to both the IDF and the densely populated centers of Israel. So it was clear that the most important requirement for success in this war had to be the neutralization of this force in the first place.
It was for this purpose that Operation “Focus”, a sudden preventive attack on Arab military airfields, was planned and eventually carried out.
The key to the success of this operation was its unexpectedness. That is why hundreds of pilots underwent special training to fly planes at ultra-low altitude, practicing simultaneously hitting dozens of airfields in complete silence — without using any radio communications.
However, the top Air Force commanders were very worried about the Jordanian radar system (a British Marconi radar) in Mount Ajloun in the northwest of Jordan, covering the whole airspace of Israel.
The Egyptians also deployed 16 radar systems in the Sinai Peninsula, and another seven monitoring possible Israeli air invasion routes. In addition, there were dozens of additional radar systems used by the 27 surface-to-air missile batteries at the disposal of the Egyptians.
It was possible to use the French-made CSF systems, nicknamed “Javelet” in the Israeli army, against some of the Egyptian radar systems. However, these systems were quite primitive. Moreover, the Israeli military command was not confident that they would work and hide the movements of the whole armada of planes.
On top of that, the Egyptians had dozens of observation posts on the ground that Israel could not disrupt. Moreover, the attack was planned in the morning hours, when the visibility is very good.
Finally, another major concern in Israel was that Soviet reconnaissance ships were sailing in the Mediterranean, over which the majority of the Israeli warplanes would have flown, keeping a close eye on Israel with radar and electronic surveillance...
The miracles and amazing events that have become public over the years
Despite all these obstacles, which seemed simply impossible to overcome unnoticed, Operation Focus was a spectacular success. The Arab Air Force was taken by surprise and suffered enormous losses.
Only after many years many surprising facts came to light. For example, it was discovered that the Jordanian radar system had indeed detected the movement of many planes, but miraculously the warning had been transmitted to Egypt using a code word already changed to indicate an air attack. In the end it took a long time for the Egyptians to understand the content of the Jordanian warning. When the Egyptians finally did decipher the message, it was too late — their airfields were already on fire...
The Egyptian radar station in El-Arish also picked up aircraft movements, but this warning did not reach the Egyptian General Staff on time, either. In turn, dozens of observers in the Sinai did not detect the Israeli planes. Neither were they detected by the Soviet reconnaissance ships.
“Praise the Lord for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting.”
The Lubavitcher Rebbe SHLITA, King Moshiach emphasized many times that G-d gave us all the lands liberated in this war by visible and manifest miracles, and therefore no one is allowed, G-d forbid, to give them away — because the desire of the Creator of the world is that they remain in the hands of the people of Israel, forever and ever.