Yom Yerushalayim 5767
Let’s take a walk down “what-could-have-been” land, and return to the time of the Six Day War.
It was again the three week period between when Gamal Nassar, President of Egypt, rolled his troops into the Sinai and the preemptive strike made by Israel on the 26th of Iyar 5727 (June 5th 1967).
The Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, was chairing the meeting. Present were Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defence, Yitzchak Rabin, Chief of Staff, Ezer Weitzman, Assistant Chief of Staff, Moti Hod, Air Force Commander, and the Head of the Aliya Department of the Jewish Agency, who was delivering the following report:
“The Jews abroad are traumatized at what might happen to the Medina. However, these feelings have made it apparent to them how much they love Medinat Yisrael. We are getting reports that when, with the aid of God, we will win this war, there will be an unprecedented wave of aliya of over one million Jews from the US alone. What is now transpiring in the diaspora is an act of Biblical proportions. Our representatives in all the major cities: New York, LA, Chicago, as well as in the outlying areas are being deluged with applicants for aliya. But there is one problem. We have no room for an additional one million people converging on ‘little Israel’ on such short notice”.
The next report was presented by the Minister of Defence, who suggested several alternative days for the preemptive strike. It was decided that the strike, as described by the Air Force Commander as “the most unrealistic and improbable goal every placed upon a handful of young pilots”, was to destroy at least half of the Arabs’ air forces. The time would be Monday 7:AM on the 26 of Iyar.
Next to speak was Yitzchak Rabin, who made his way to the front of the room where he uncovered maps of the region. With baton in hand, he quickly swept over the area of the Middle East. Rabin began explaining the military projection of the first few days of the war, “From Monday until Thursday the Bet Lechem, Yericho, and Ramala will be captured. By Shabbat, Shechem and Chevron were to be secured. We will reach the Jordan by the following Monday. If all goes well, we might try to seize a limited part of the southern Golan, but no promises. We could take Yerushalayim, at a great cost to our soldiers, but Washington and Moscow, and the UN will use every leverage they have to force us back”.
When all the speakers finished, the PM turned to the window and looking up to the heavens and said: “In the light of the unexpected wave of Jewish immigration, where do we have the resources and infrastructure to accommodate so many people in such a short time? We wil have to settle all the new olim in Chevron, Bet Lechem, Ramalla, Shechem. The Arabs who are presently occupying these places will be resettled in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. This, of course, will require the capturing of all these countries and setting up puppet governments under our very strict control. These countries will surrender all weapons at their disposal. We will leave them with plastic knives and forks to eat with.
All those present, in a spontaneous protocol defying act ran to embrace the PM as they felt their bodies quiver in the face of the great historical mission they were about to lead the nation.
At 3 AM on the appointed Monday morning, the young pilots began to gather in the command rooms of the various air bases to receive their targets. The enemy air fields were in Lebanon and Syria to the north; Iraq and Jordan to the east and Egypt and Saudia to the south, so it was no surprise that the orders were to take off in the direction of the west. Each pilot was given his speed and exact time, to the second, when he would turn towards his target. The plan was that every Arab air field was to be hit at exactly the same instant, so a pilot whose target was in Iraq had to turn around sooner than one whose target was in Syria.
At 6 AM 99% of all Israeli military aircraft was fanning out low over the Mediterranean to keep under enemy radar scopes.
At exactly 7 AM, all air force fields in the Arab Middle East were being chopped up by planes bearing the star of David. As the planes released their ordinance they returned to home base for refueling and rearming. It takes half an hour to accomplish this task, but since the attack was being lead by God’s angels, the average return time was (a fact) 12 minutes.
The pilots reported direct hits, as if the hand of HaShem was leading each bomb to its target.
At 10 AM no Arab aircraft could take to the sky.
On the ground. Bet Lechem and Yericho were captured on the first day of fighting. On Tuesday, Shechem and Chevron has Israeli officers sitting in the chairs’ of the mayors. The Sinai became an inferno for Egyptian armor and weapons. Tens of thousands of boots were scattered all over the desert floor, left by retreating Egyptian soldiers.
Our troops reached the Jordan River by nightfall of Tuesday. The order was given to invade all the lands given to Avraham Aveinu for his nation, as stated in the Torah.
Golani forces accepted the capitulation of Syria and Jordan. The reservists were now speeding in the direction of Sharam Al Sheikh to take control of the Straits of Tiran at the entrance to the Red Sea. Sergeant Veiss and his squad were the first to enter King Hussein’s palace in Amman, and he was immediately handed the surrender papers from the king himself.
On Wednesday, the third day of the war, paratroopers surrounded the Old City walls. The PM was receiving violent, threatening phone calls from the US president and from Moscow which threatened to send troops to the Middle East if Israel does not retreat to the pre June 5th borders.
Dayan issues the order 2000 years in the making “Kadima, to liberate the Temple Mount”. As our troops made their way through the tangle of lanes towards Har Habayit, a tremor suddenly shook the entire area. As they entered the Mount, they saw the golden dome and Al Aksa Mosque tremble, then totter and crash to the ground as the earthquake spread out over the area. The high rising steeples of the churches in the Old City came crashing down. The God of Israel is telling His people that their redemption has arrived.
At the UN, the Chief Rabbi of Israel took the podium, and quoting from Yishayahu and other prophets, told the world that the day of God has come. The Rabbi told the spellbound representatives of the world’s nations that the Jewish people will now begin rebuilding the Holy Temple. And although only we, the Jewish nation, may rebuild the Temple, all peoples are invited to participate by sending building materiel. When it will be completed, all people may bring send their sacrifices to the Temple, for God is the father of all who recognize HIM and His Chosen People – Israel.
At that moment, the representative of the Vatican, a cardinal, climbed up to the podium, removed his red scull-cap handing it to the Chief Rabbi proclaimed in the name of the Pope that they accept only the seven Noahide laws, and will immediately return to the Jewish people all the vessels from the Bet Hamikdash held in Rome since the destruction.
He is followed by the chief Imman of Mecca, who states that since they too come from Avraham, they will from this time on accept only the seven Noachide laws.
Israel convenes a meeting of the Arab League which represents 22 Arab countries. At the head of the table sat General Chaim Hertzog, son of Israel’s former chief rabbi. He lays down the articles of future actvities of the league, including reimbursing the Jews who were forced to leave Arab countries.
But it did not play out this way.
There was no mass aliya.
The Israeli government ordered the troops to stop at the Jordan river.
Dayan returned the Temple Mount and Me’arat Ha’ Machpela to the Arabs.
We did not occupy Syria or Jordan or Egypt.
We are left with a very large Arab population.
And business in Rome and Mecca is riding high.
As I look out at the gold dome and Al Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount, I think that it could have been the way I imagined, had religious Jews been the ones to rebuild the State of Israel. But we loved our lives in the galut, so the ones who drained the malarial swamps and tilled the arid soil until it awoke, were Jews who did not act in the name of HaShem.
So instead of pointing an accusing finger at our leaders who make secular choices, look into your heart and find the courage to correct the failings of your parents’ generations and come to take part in preparing the next chapter in the book of Am Yisrael, which will include the Moshiach and rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.