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  • Writer's pictureBeth S.

Israel and Arabic Neighbors - Modern History

Updated: Jun 16, 2019

(original post from September 22 has been split into three parts: “Israel and the Palestinians”; “Kibbutz Battles” and “Israel and Arabic Neighbors”)

Six Day War

On June 5-10,1967 Egypt, Jordan and Syria fought an intense war with Israel. What started as a dispute over shipping rights in the Straits of Tiran led to Egypt massing troops along the border with Israel. For weeks, Egypt had been threatening war and President Nassar challenged Israel to fight daily. At the time Israel could not sustain a standing army and its primary defense was based on reservists.

The weeks leading up to the conflict were terrifying for Israel. It was assumed that when Egypt finally did attack, along with allies Jordan and Syria, there would be a massacre. Israeli National Parks were prepared to become mass grave sites. Syria was shelling northern Israel so frequently that the Israelis were sleeping in bomb shelters.

In what was planned as a pre-emptive strike, the Israeli Air Force, flying below radar was able to enter Egyptian air space. To their surprise, they found the entire Egyptian Air Force on the ground and lightly defended. Israel was able to destroy virtually the entire Egyptian Air Force with little resistance. Ground assaults against the invading Syrians and Jordanians gained the Golan Heights and the West Bank for Israel. In just 6 days, the war was over, and Israel had defended itself successfully. Israel lost less than 1000, while their enemies lost over 20,000.

Yom Kippur War

On the religious holiday of Yom Kippur, October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria, with the aid of nine other Arab countries launched a surprise attack on Israel. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait contributed financial resources and the Soviet Union gave full support to the invasion.

When Israel began to win the war against far superior forces, the Soviet Union threatened to intervene, and the possibility of nuclear disaster became very real. The United States supported Israel with weapons and supplies but was heavily distracted by the Watergate scandal.

At the end of October, the UN Security Council intervened and demanded a cease-fire. Israel was on the verge of major victories on all fronts but reluctantly agreed.

Psalm 83 is an interesting and unique prophecy. It names several nations that will want to destroy Israel but will not succeed.

O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones.

They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant— Psalm 83:1-5 (ESV)

(The nations forming a covenant to destroy Israel in verses 6-8 can be roughly identified as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Some sources include the Palestinians.)

Some Bible prophecy experts believe that this Psalm points to a still future war between Israel and her neighbors. The result of Israel winning this war would lead to a vast expansion of territory to the borders originally promised by God. If this is the case, such a war would be the perfect set up for the Gog and Magog battle. Israel would be a very tempting target for “taking a spoil”.

Some believe that this passage describes a cumulative effect of these nations constantly trying to destroy Israel and failing. In either case, God has and will continue to defend Israel.

O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane! Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord. Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace,

that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth. -- Psalm 83:13-18 (ESV)


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