3 Days in June

I’m sure you were expecting the title to be “Six Days in June”. Well, the Six Day War does get a look-in in this post, but there were two other very important days in the month of June over the last century.

D-Day landings

Canadian soldiers land on Courseulles beach in Normandy, on June 6, 1944 as Allied forces storm the Normandy beaches. Photo: STF/AFP/Getty Images

Starting chronologically, this week was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. Arguably, this day was the turning point of the Second World War.  The Daily Telegraph has an hour-by-hour timeline of the battle and the landings which makes fascinating reading.

The second day to commemorate, or rather week, in June 1967 was of course the Six Day War which started on 5th June and ended six days later, with the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem (falsely and slanderously called “Arab East Jerusalem” when it was never any such thing), the territories of Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai peninsula and the Golan Heights, more or less quadrupling Israel’s size within six days. It was nothing short of a miracle.

Egypt officials before Six Day War 1967

Nasser, Sadat and other Egyptian officials before the Six Day War

Here is the IDF Spokesman’s report on Operation Moked, the carefully planned operation to destroy the Arab air forces on the ground, which paved the way to Israel’s brilliant victory.

In 1962, Maj. Gen. Ezer Weizman, commander of the Air Force, had already planned an operation that would shut down all the air forces of enemy nations. In order to be effective, the IDF understood it first had to strike the airport runways that would keep planes on the ground.

The mission had to be a complete surprise for it to succeed. The orders of the Air Force Commander were clear: pilots would fly at low altitude and would not under any condition use communication lines — not for take off, not during flight and not even if a pilot had a technical problem and needed to eject. They would make contact only after the first round of strikes.

In 1964, about three years before the war, the IDF planned the 24 hour mission as a defensive measure against Israel’s increasingly hostile enemies. Senior commanders discussed the operation with the highest of secrecy and named it “Moked.”

 Maj. Gen. Mordechai “Mottie” Hod, Air Force Commander, and Lt. Gen. Yitzahk Rabin, then IDF Chief of Staff, decided on June 4th to launch Operation Moked. After receiving the clearance from the political echelon in the afternoon, a few air base officers were gathered to receive the instructions from their commanders.

Read the whole article. It’s fascinating and reads like spy thriller fiction even though we all know it is absolutely true – and of course we know it has a good ending.  Watch this short video too:

The last of the 3 days to commemorate happened today exactly 33 days ago: Operation Opera, i.e. the Israeli attack on the Iraqi Tammuz nuclear reactor at Osirak.  This attack too was almost miraculous in the way the pilots managed to fly their planes, weighed beyond their limit with bombs, such a huge distance and at such a low altitude to avoid radar detection. They also succeeded in avoiding being hit by anti-aircraft fire and managed the flight home unscathed. Truly a miracle, and an achievement of mind-boggling heroics and bravery.

As we all know, the youngest of those brave pilots was Ilan Rimon who lost his life many years later on the space shuttle Columbia. What a loss to the nation!

You can watch how the operation unfolded in three consecutive videos:

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

There are those who doubt that international forces will ever have the guts or the political-incorrectness to act as decisively as the Allies did in Normandy 70 years ago.

But there is no doubt that Israel’s heroic army and air force would and did act again in defence of the country and its millions of citizens.

One other personal note to remember this day: 33 years ago this was the day I gave birth to my first-born daughter. Having been rather busy in hospital the previous day I asked my husband if there was anything new in the world (this was in the days before internet and smart phones). He said casually “Yeah, we bombed the Iraqi reactor”. “Yeah sure”, I replied cynically. “No, really, it’s true!” he insisted. After I refused to believe him, he went to buy me a newspaper, where I read the wonderful truth for myself.

So happy birthday Tzfonit Rechoka (even though you’re not so tzfonit (north) or rechoka (far) any more).  No one can say your birthday didn’t go off with a bang.   🙂

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10 Responses to 3 Days in June

  1. cba says:

    Wow, what a day to give birth! 🙂

    • anneinpt says:

      Well, technically it was the day before. I was in hospital all of Shavuot but only gave birth after nightfall. I missed all the “fun” of the attack and only found out next morning. At least we’ll never forget the date of the attack! 🙂

  2. Nice. It was Shavuot. I was in Herziliya. We heard the planes go over that night.

    • anneinpt says:

      Wow. I wasn’t far from you. I was in Netanya at Laniado hospital. But I was a little bit preoccupied (to say the least!).

  3. JudyPT says:

    Anne the films are absolutely mind boggling.Those pilots were brilliant and so brave not knowing if they could make it back, lets hope we have another “surprise” in store for other regimes who keep threatening to destroy us.It has never been confirmed who destroyed the Syrian reactor, but can you imagine what Assad would do to his own people if it was ready. After all he has no compunction for dropping barrel bombs on unarmed civilians killing thousands at atime.

    • anneinpt says:

      It’s not hard to imagine what Assad would have done. As you say he’s done enough already. And any Arab country with nuclear weapons would be a threat to Israel. They wouldn’t have to actually use them. Just the threat would be enough to paralyse us – and also our other Arab neighbours. That’s why the Saudis are so terrified of the Iranians.

      The world still owes Israel a very loud public apology for condemning us at the time and very loud public thanks for bombing the reactor. It makes me furious that they condemn us in public and thank us in secret. What’s the big problem about praising the Jews? It makes me sick.

  4. Brian Goldfarb says:

    We spent virtually all day Friday, 6 June watching BBC TV and the commemoration of the D-Day landings. It is a dreadful irony that because of the success of those landings and the liberation of Western Europe that there was an Israel to show what Jews can do, given the chance. And not just on the field of battle.

    Then, the following day, The Times (of London) had an evocative photo on its front page that brought a lump to my throat: three modern day UK marines silhouetted against the dawn sun, waiting for the landing craft to arrive. The title to the picture was “Gratefully remembered”.

    We’re keeping that paper as a souvenir and reminder.

    • anneinpt says:

      I would quibble with you about the fact that because of D-Day it was then possible to be an Israel, mainly because Israel was existent in all but name by that stage. It had all the institutions of state (unlike the Palestinians) and a functioning society. The only thing preventing Israel from existing independently was the British Mandate.

      However it is true that because of D-Day and the heroes who fought and died there, the war began to turn in the Allies’ favour, eventually bringing an end to Hitler and the Holocaust.

      The articles and programs sound wonderful. Would that such a high level of reporting be applied to anything concerning Israel!

  5. bluewhale11 says:

    Thank you for showing the videos of the raid on the reactor. I’ll consider it a birthday present since today is my birthday. If only we had a leader like Begin who would refuse to apologize to anyone, including the US and the UN, for putting Israel and Jews ahead of anything else! Instead, when the world is heading for another Holocaust that could make the last one look tame by comparison, we who love Israel and believe in the Zionist ideal, are being forced to watch our beloved country being given away by traitors both within and without. May God help us!

    • anneinpt says:

      Mazal tov on your birthday, which you share with my daughter. 🙂

      Begin indeed belonged to that generation of giants who are sorely missed nowadays. However, give credit where it’s due, Israel has been taking action against Iran and Syria for several years now, just not on such spectacular a scale. But the fireworks aren’t what count; the results are.

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