• Issue: August 1967
  • Designer: R. Errell
  • Plate no.: 200 -202
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

A series of three stamps presents the emblem of Zahal with the inscription "Israel Defence Forces," the Straits of Tiran with the inscription "Straits of Tiran," and a picture of the Western Wall with the inscription "The Western Wall."

The Six-Day War, known as a spectacular military victory, lasted from June 5 through June 10 1967. The war which many believed would lead to the impending destruction of Israel, not only saw her survive but actually gain a stronger territorial foothold among her aggressive Arab neighbors.

The unrest on the part of Israel's neighbors started years earlier following their breach of promises and agreements in the aftermath of the 1956 Sinai Campaign. In early 1957 the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was set up to act as a buffer along the Israeli and Egyptian border. Israel was promised freedom of passage for her ships through the Straits of Tiran, located at the southern point of the Sinai peninsula, in exchange for giving up territory she captured in 1956. In a blatant disregard of earlier understandings and in avoidance of the UN presence, Egypt led by Gamal Abdul Nasser, established new centers of activity in Syria and from there repeatedly attacked Israel. Recurring terror and harassment of her citizens in their homes was carried out from the Golan Heights by the Syrians and from the Jordanian border. This, together with the growing Soviet support and influence, left Israel with no choice but to launch retaliatory raids on the offenders. Following the forced Israeli action, Egypt, egged on by the war hungry Soviets, and the fearful Syrians were encouraged to escalate the tensions into a full-fledged crisis.

In May 1967, ten years after elaborate promises were made, the UN forces, following Nasser’s demand withdrew, the buffer zone disappeared and Israel’s ships were denied access to the Straits of Tiran. The Arab countries, once again bent on the destruction of Israel, pooled their forces, and massed staggering numbers of troops and equipment. As the world looked on, Syria, Egypt and Jordan together, with contingents from other Arab countries, surrounded Israel with 250,000 troops, over 2,000 tanks and some 700 frontline fighter planes and bombers.

While Israel waited for the first explosive shot in the tense spring air, world Jewry responded to her calls for help. With thousands of Jews flying in from all parts of the world, and in an amazing outpour of financial support, Israel’s brethren stated their wish to be part of the war effort. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, the Israeli government took steps for a crisis situation and expanded itself into an emergency government of national unity. Moshe Dayan became the newly appointed Minister of Defense.

Major General Yizhak Rabin as Commander in Chief and Brigadier General Mordehai Hod leading the Israel Air Force took a daring offensive on the morning of June 5 1967. Flying low beneath the Arab radar screens they surprised Egypt, Jordan and Syria in a devastating raid that destroyed the air forces of each. As Israel’s ground forces then proceeded to push their way to Sinai, King Hussein of Jordan began shelling the heart of Israel’s villages, towns and cities. Ignoring Israel’s guarantee that his country would not be harmed if he stayed out of the war, Hussein created the situation for one of Israel’s most meaningful victories. Israeli forces were sent into the West Bank and on June 7 the much-dreamt about Old City of Jerusalem was once again in Israel’s hands. With the army and air force both working miracles, the navy too had its share of accomplishments. In the south, their forces sailed around the Gulf of Akaba, took Sharm el-Sheik, and returned to Israel’s ships their right to sail through the Straits of Tiran. When the threat in the South subsided, Israel put her energy into dealing with the Syrians in the north. On June 10, after the Arab military forces on all three fronts were eliminated, Egypt and Syria accepted a cease-fire.

The city of Jerusalem became reunited and Israel gained full control over and administration of the occupied areas. Israel, in a statement of good will, allowed continued access to the Moslem Holy places for the Arab worshippers, and West Bank Arabs the right to visit Jordanian relatives. This did not soften the animosity, and Israel’s neighbors continued to reject Israel’s rights to exist. Not only did the Arabs not recognize Israel, but also many of the Palestinian organizations used terror as their means of expression. Eventually the Arabs tried again, when in 1973 Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War.

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Zahal (I.D.F.) Victory 1967