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The Fight For Our Lives: Israeli Wars

Updated: May 6

For a state that has citizens older than itself, Israel's sure had its fair share of wars. Since its first day, the state has participated in seven official wars, countless operations, and battles, but only some of them come to mind when we think of the term ‘Israel’s Wars’. Just for you, we have gathered fascinating information and lesser-known facts about these wars that will blow your mind.


1948: The War of Independence

The War of Independence began in 1947, with a six-month civil war between Arab and Jewish fighters while they were under the jurisdiction of the British Mandate. Following the declaration of Israel’s independence in Tel Aviv on May 14th, 1948, the conflict turned into a full-fledged war fought between Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The war ended with the Armistice Agreement of 1949, giving Israel control of 78% of the territory comprising former Mandatory Palestine, while Egypt and Jordan received control of Gaza and the West Bank (of Jordan) respectively.


Did you know

According to historians, during the War of Independence, Israeli forces actually outnumbered their enemies for most of the battles, contrary to common belief.


1967: The Six-Day War

The Six-Day War began and ended in June 1967 and was fought between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The war began with a preempted airstrike from Israel which wiped out the Egyptian air force and an attack on Egyptian forces in the Sinai, inflicting heavy casualties for the Egyptian side. After heavy losses, Gamal Abdul Nasser, the president of Egypt, enlisted Syria and Jordan to participate. Due to a strong military strategy from Israel, all three Arab countries suffered heavy losses. Israel also gained control of land, including the Sinai Peninsula and East Jerusalem. And yes, the war only lasted six days!


Did you know

During the Six-Day War, the IDF Paratroopers famously entered the Old City through the Lion’s Gate. This gate actually has no lions on it, but cheetahs.

1973: Yom Kippur War (War of Attrition)

On the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, 1973, Egyptian and Syrian forces attacked Israel from the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. Caught by surprise, it took Israel three days to mobilize most of its troops, but the IDF still managed to halt the Egyptian troops, resulting in a military stalemate. The Yom Kippur War paved the way for the Camp David Accords of 1978, which was the precursor for the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.


Did you know

Prior to the Yom Kippur War, Egypt offered a peace treaty to Israel, including peace in exchange for the Sinai. Golda Meir declined the offer, it was eventually signed 10 years later.


1982: First Lebanon War

In 1982, after a failed assassination attempt of the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon and battled Syrian and Palestinian forces until the war ended after nearly four months. After the war, Israeli forces stayed in the south of Lebanon, which was referred to as the “Security Zone”, up until May 2000. The war raised a lot of questions and criticism, mainly towards the political and army leadership.


Did you know

After the Lebanon War, between the years 1982-1984, around 180,000 Lebanese tourists came to visit Israel.


2006: Second Lebanon War

In the summer of 2006, Hezbollah orchestrated an attack on Israeli forces, on the Lebanese border. The attack included heavy missile strikes towards Israeli populated areas and a planned attack on an IDF border patrol, resulting in three dead soldiers and another two kidnapped.


The IDF retaliated immediately with heavy airstrikes, and thus the 34-day long war begun. The difficult and tedious war seemed like a failure in the public eye, and the finger-pointing was soon to come. Since the cease-fire between the sides was achieved on August 12th, 2006, International UN forces have been stationed on the Israeli-Lebanese border to this day.


Did you know

During the Second Lebanon War, Israeli Navy vessels accumulated over 8,000 hours of sailing, in under 33 days.