The six Day War
In spring of 1967, as the Arab capitals paraded
their arms and openly spoke of overrunning the Land of Israel and
casting its inhabitants into the sea, a great panic enveloped the
land. The media was almost unanimous in its feeling that the small
Jewish state was outflanked and outgunned by its enemies, and stood
little chance of survival. It was obvious that the world was going
to stand by once again and let happen whatever may happen.
The Rebbe stood out as a voice of confidence and
encouragement. “The Guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor
slumbers,” he said, quoting the eternal words of Psalms; G-d
watches over His people wherever they are, especially in the Holy
On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike
on its southern and northern frontiers. Six days later, the world
stood amazed at the swift and bold victory. Within one dizzying
week Israel defeated five armies on three fronts and liberated territories
of its promised homeland amounting to an area greater than its own
The Rebbe saw the heart of his nation open wide.
It was a biblical moment; an opportunity of cosmic proportions,
and the Rebbe urged Jewish leadership to respond. Speak about returning
to tradition and they will listen. Ask them to don tefillin and
they will roll up their sleeves. The Rebbe wanted the Six Day War
to be a Jewish victory.
“G-d’s eyes rest on it always, from
the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (Deuteronomy
11:12). The Rebbe saw this divine statement as the ultimate guarantor
of Israel’s physical safety.
He was equally concerned with the spiritual state
of Israel. This is the land referred to as the “Holy Land”
by all peoples of the world, the Rebbe reminded us. Certainly we,
to whom the land has been entrusted, must safeguard and cultivate
The Rebbe was in constant communication with Israeli
government and military leaders on matters of safety and security.
Whenever the issue of “land for peace treaties”
came to the fore, the Rebbe, as he did on every issue, would look
to the Torah for guidance. The Rebbe found that Torah law sets forth
the criteria necessary for Israel’s peace and safety: these
can only be achieved from a position of strength and confidence.
Any sign of weakness or self-doubt, he insisted, is sure to encourage
Israel’s adversaries toward further aggression and terrorism.
The Rebbe’s great concern for and intimate
involvement with the Holy Land, both personally and through his
thousands of followers and hundreds of institutions there, are legendary.
The people of Israel responded in kind. His picture can be seen
in army outposts and falafel stands from Eilat to Metulah, and everyone,
from “the man on the street” to prime ministers and
army generals, have turned to him for blessing and counsel.