I was a mere kid of 10 years old but I remember seeing some of the news about this. I marveled at how they did it and proceeded to scheme to buy models of the Israeli Mirage jets to build. (Never got them.)
Fifty years on, I’ve immersed myself a little more in the history of this epochal conflict. If you truly want to understand this conflict and why it’s still so important fifty years later read Six Days of War by Michael Oren. A great history book.
Here’s an excerpt from a memoir written by an Israeli draftee and published a couple of weeks ago in FrontPage Magazine:
June 5th, 2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel vanquished the Arab armies arrayed against it. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon were the main combatants, but large contingents from Iraq, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Kuwait, Pakistan, Sudan, and the P.L.O. also took part in the war as auxiliaries, by lending aircrafts, tanks, manpower, and logistics. I was then a young draftee facing a war on an Israeli airbase.
In 1967, Israel had a small population of 2.7 million, while Egypt’s population alone amounted to 31 million. Syria’s population was at the time 5.76 million, Jordan’s 1.32 million, Lebanon’s 2.175 million, and Iraq’s about 9 million. The Arab confrontation states alone accounted for about 50 million. The Arab armies had approximately 465,000 troops, more than 2,800 tanks, and 800 planes. Israel fielded its regular army of 50,000 in addition to its reserve force for a total of 264,000, almost 10% of its total population. Israel threw into the fight about 800 tanks and 300 combat aircrafts … just about a third of the Arab aircrafts, and a similar proportion of tanks.
Howard Sachar, author of A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, quoted Yitzhak Rabin, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief-of-Staff during the Six Day War, explaining Israel’s victory in that war: “Our airmen, who struck the enemies’ planes so accurately that no one in the world understands how it was done and people seek technological explanations or secret weapons; our armored troops who beat the enemy even when their equipment was inferior to his; our soldiers in all other branches … who overcame our enemies everywhere, despite the latter’s superior numbers and fortifications—all these revealed not only coolness and courage in the battle but…an understanding that only their personal stand against the greatest dangers would achieve victory for their country and for their families, and that if victory was not theirs, the alternative was annihilation.”