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The Six-Day War: Broadcast to the Nation by Prime Minister Eshkol

(June 5, 1967)

In the early hours of 5 June 1967, hostilities broke out. Within three hours the Egyptian air force was virtually destroyed. There was also fighting on the ground. Prime Minister Eshkol broadcast the following message to the people of Israel.

Citizens of Israel:

Since the hours of this morning our forces, on land and in the air, are returning war with a view to vanquishing the armies of the aggressive ruler of Egypt.

Egypt has forced a military campaign upon us, and all of us - the entire nation the soldiers in the front line and the civilians in the rear, will stand fast with courage and good cheer. We shall repulse the enemy and defeat his army.

Throughout the years since he assumed power, the ruler of Egypt has been announcing his plan and his preparations to attack Israel in order to destroy it. During the past three weeks he has not concealed from the world the fact that the time has come to carry out his scheme.

A great army, with its armor, cannons and planes, has been moved into east Sinai and posted close to our southern border; the UN Emergency Force has been ejected and the Strait of Tiran has been blocked to Israeli and to international shipping.

Arrogantly and braggingly, Nasser has made a mockery of international law, has scorned the Charter of the United Nations, and has brought to naught mankind's aspiration to peace.

In addition to the agreement between him and Syria, the Egyptian ruler has, during these very days, concluded military treaties with Jordan and Iraq with the purpose of encircling us with an ever-tightening noose.

Our forces are strong enough to frustrate the schemes of the aggressor.

Israel strives for peace, but in order to protect peace we have built up mighty, resourceful, well-trained defense forces, equipped with top-quality modern weapons and deployed according to the best rules of military warfare.

Our soldiers - on land, in the air and at sea - are accompanied by the love and trust of the nation, are inspired by a spirit of bravery and are commanded by a capable and experienced corps of officers. Our army is deployed against any danger, capable of defending the State and defeating any aggressor.

The nation sends its blessings to its soldiers who dedicate their lives to the defense of our country: Be courageous and of good cheer!

To the citizens in the rear I say: Let each and every one of you manifest level-headedness; let everyone do his job, with dedication and efficiency, and put all his forces at the service of victory.

During these days which are liable to be a time of a cruel and bloody campaign, the distinction between front and rear may become blunted. In these days the entire nation is an army, all of Israel is a frontline. Each and every one of us, wherever he may be, and at all times, is in duty bound to consider himself responsible for the defense of Israel. All of us, headed by our army, shall vanquish those rising up against us.

Today we shall know who will lend us his support. These days are a testing time for the nations of the world -whether they will join in the heavy campaign, lend a loyal hand to our defense, and help us check the aggressor.

I fervently hope that peace-loving nations and states will not stand by but will understand the right of Israel to live its life without the sword of aggression hanging over its head.

At this juncture let us point to the ever-growing wonderful manifestations of solidarity on the part of Jews throughout the world. This solidarity of the Jewish people with the State of Israel elates us and inspires us with confidence. The feelings of brotherhood and unity which throb in the heart of every Jew brings far ones close and builds bridges across distances. The Jewish heart, wherever it is, now beats with the State of Israel, yearning for its victory.

Citizens of Israel!

Even as the cannons roar we shall not cease from longing for peace. Our only desire is to remove from our borders any threat of sabotage and every danger of aggression, to safeguard our security and the fullness of our rights.

Again we announce: We shall not attack any state as long as it does not wage war against us. But anyone attacking us will meet with our full power of self-defense and our capacity to defeat his forces.

Moreover, the Israel Defense Forces have been instructed to refrain from striking the civilian population, but it is only proper for the enemy to know that these orders will remain in force only as long as he does not strike our population.

Today we stand up in the battle forced upon us, consolidated and strong as we have never been before, trusting in the Rock of Israel, relying upon the valor of the Israel Defense Forces and their power to defeat our enemies and to safeguard peace.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry