Michael Barkai was the Commander of the Israeli Navy, a recipient of the Medal of Distinguished Service for his command of the missile ships during the Yom Kippur War. Barkai was born in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, as a first born for Moshe and he spent his childhood in the Fascist state of Romania where he and his family managed to evade the Nazis and their Final Solution. In December 1947, his family tried to make aliyah to Palestine, when Israel was declared its independence, his family finally arrived in Israel and settled in Bat Yam. In Bat Yam, Barkai realized his love for the sea, in 1955, Barkai enlisted in the Israeli Navy. In 1958, he married his wife Rachel, the couple subsequently had two children, in 1959, Barkai volunteered to join the submarines and quickly became a captain of an Israeli Navy submarine. His expertise and military genius made him an advisor in the Israeli Navy headquarters under the Command of Shlomo Arel. By the late 1960s, Barkai was stationed for a time in the Naval quarters in Ashdod until in 1971 he was put in charge of the missile ship fleet.
During the Yom Kippur War Barkais military strategies and genius helped turn the tide of the war for the Israelis, Barkai managed to scare the Egyptian and Syrian navies so much that, by the end of the war, their ships would not leave the harbor. For his heroism, Barkai received the Medal of Distinguished Service, in 1974, Barkai was stationed at the Israeli Naval headquarters and in 1976, at the rank of Aluf, Barkai became the Commander of the Israeli Navy. Barkai continued to build the Israeli Navy, under his command the Israeli Navy received the Gal class submarines, Barkai completely reorganized the sloppy command of the Israeli Navy into a great command. Barkai and his wife Rachel moved to Greece where they built the yacht Leviathan, with it they sailed around the world, returning to Israel only in 1995. In 1999, Barkai was diagnosed cancer and began chemotherapy. At the same time, he was invited by the Navy to teach military strategies to IDF soldiers, although he was weak, he immediately took the job.
That same day Barkai committed suicide and his friend Yigal Tumarkin said that you couldnt hate Barkai and it was seven times harder to love him
Zevulun Orlev is an Israeli politician and a former Knesset member, Minister of Welfare & Social Services and leader of the National Religious Party. Orlev is a war hero who received the Medal of Distinguished Service in the Yom Kippur War. Born in Rehovot during the Mandate era, Orlev studied humanities and social sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and he worked as Director General of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Director General of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Orlev lives in Jerusalems Givat Mordechai neighborhood with his wife, during his national service in the Israel Defense Forces, he reached the rank of Sergeant. Orlev fought in the Six-Day War, participating in the capture of East Jerusalem and he sustained a knee injury and underwent rehabilitation for two years. During the Yom Kippur War, Orlev served in a stronghold on the Bar-Lev Line, during the Egyptian attack on the first day of the war, Orlev took charge of the soldiers in his outpost after the commander was wounded.
Under his command, his unit repelled Egyptian attempts to capture the position, for this, he was awarded a Medal of Distinguished Service. He served as a reservist during the 1982 Lebanon War and he was first elected to the Knesset in the 1999 elections on the National Religious Party list. After being re-elected in the 2003 elections, Orlev was appointed Minister of Welfare, during the crisis in the party over the Gaza disengagement plan, Orlev led the camp which believed staying in the government, rather than leaving the coalition, was the best option. In response, NRP leader Effi Eitam called Orlev a Meimadnik, when Eitam and Yitzhak Levy quit the government in 2004, Orlev and many NRP members refused to leave the coalition. Orlev succeeded in taking control of the party, resulting in Eitam and Levy leaving to form the Renewed Religious National Zionist Party, Orlev was re-elected in the 2006 elections. Prior to the 2009 elections the NRP was dissolved and its members joined the Jewish Home, Orlev won second place on the new partys list, and retained his seat in the subsequent elections.
Orlev became known for controversial statements and legislative proposal. In 2009 the Knesset debated a Private Members Bill proposed by Orlev, providing for imprisonment of anyone who denied that Israel was a Jewish, the bill passed its preliminary reading. In 2012, he called for the Third Temple to be built in Jerusalem, as well as legislation to protect the project from prosecution and he proposed a Private Members Bill to override an Israeli Supreme Court ruling ordering the demolition five buildings in an Israeli settlement. Orlev did not run in the 2013 elections and he is a co-president of the international Mizrachi movement, which the National Religious Party and its successor Jewish Home represents in the political arena. Zevulun Orlev on the Knesset website Media related to Zevulun Orlev at Wikimedia Commons
Epstein was an active IAF pilot from 1963 until 1997, when he retired at age 59. He, like many retired IAF flyers, worked as captain for El-Al Airlines, Epstein joined the Israeli Defense Force in 1956 during the Suez War. He was initially rejected from flight school because of a heart condition, while traveling with the IDFs parachute demonstration team, Epstein changed his last name to Even. He left the IDF in 1959 before returning two years to again apply for flight school, after gaining medical clearance, Epstein began fighter training. He soon gained the nickname Hawkeye due to his extraordinary eyesight, Epstein was allegedly able to spot aircraft at a distance of 24 miles — nearly three times further than a normal pilot. Epsteins first kill came on June 6,1967 during the Six Day War, during the War of Attrition in 1969–70, Epstein downed a MiG-17, another Sukhoi-7 and two MiG 21s. The rest of his kills came during 1973s Yom Kippur War, between October 18 and 20,1973, he downed an Mi-8 helicopter and eight jets, two Sukhoi-7s, two Sukhoi-20s and four MiG 21s.
Then, on October 24,1973, Epstein downed three more MiG-21s west of the Great Bitter Lake, eight of these victories were with the French-built Mirage III, a delta wing fighter designed primarily as a high altitude interceptor. His other nine victories came in an IAI Nesher, an Israeli-built version of the Mirage 5, five of his claims were downed using air-to-air missiles, the rest with cannon. After the Yom Kippur War, Epstein received the Medal of Distinguished Service and he went on to command Mirage and Kfir squadrons and was flying ready missions in the F-16 up until his 60th birthday. After retiring from the IAF, Epstein became a captain for El-Al Airlines, Epstein was the primary subject of the Desert Aces episode of The History Channel series Dogfights. The episode first aired on August 10,2007,254 Squadron 101 Squadron Official Israeli Air Force site listing Epsteins victory details
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and he previously held the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Benjamin Netanyahus second government from 2009 to 2013. He is the joint most highly decorated soldier in Israels history, having taken part in many battles and he is a graduate in physics and economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Stanford University. He served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, following a highly decorated career, he was appointed Chief of General Staff in 1991, serving until 1995. On 26 November 2012 he announced that he would retire from politics after the election in January 2013. He was born on 12 February 1942 in kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon in what was Mandatory Palestine and he is the eldest of four sons of Esther and Yisrael Mendel Brog. His paternal grandparents and Reuven Brog, were murdered in Pušalotas in the northern Lithuania in 1912, Baraks maternal grandparents and Shmuel Godin, died at the Treblinka extermination camp during the Holocaust.
Ehud hebraized his family name from Brog to Barak in 1972 and it was during his military service that he met his future wife, Nava. They had three daughters together, Michal and Anat, Barak divorced Nava in August 2003. On 30 July 2007, Barak married Nili Priel in a ceremony in his private residence. In his spare time, Barak enjoys reading works by such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Barak joined the Israel Defense Forces in 1959 and he served in the IDF for 35 years, rising to the position of Chief of the General Staff and the rank of Rav Aluf, the highest in the Israeli military. These highly acclaimed operations, along with Operation Bayonet, led to the dismantling of Palestinian terrorist cell Black September and it has been alluded that Barak masterminded the Tunis Raid on 16 April 1988, in which PLO leader Abu Jihad was killed. Later he served as head of Aman, the Military Intelligence Directorate, head of Central Command and he served as Chief of the General Staff between 1 April 1991 and 1 January 1995.
During this period he implemented the first Oslo Accords and participated in the negotiations towards the Israel–Jordan peace treaty, Barak was awarded the Medal of Distinguished Service and four Chief of Staff citations for courage and operational excellence. These five decorations make him the most decorated soldier in Israeli history, in 1992 he was awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States. In 2012, he was awarded by the United States with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. On 7 July 1995, Barak was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs by Yitzhak Rabin, when Shimon Peres formed a new government following Rabins assassination in November 1995, Barak was made Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sgan aluf Amos Yarkoni, was an officer in the Israel Defense Forces and one of six Israeli Arabs to have received the IDFs third highest decoration, the Medal of Distinguished Service. He was the first commander of the Shaked Reconnaissance Battalion of Israels Southern command, Yarkoni was born Abd el-Majid Hidr in the Bedouin village of Naura. His family were Muslim Bedouin of the Mazarib tribe, in 1936, at the age of 16, he joined a band which sabotaged the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, an oil pipeline running from the Iraqi oilfields to Haifa while Palestine was under British Administration. Due to a disagreement within the band, Abd el-Majid fled to a Jewish area of Palestine. There, he made contacts in the Haganah through Moshe Dayan, Abd el-Majid kept in touch with Dayan up until the War of Independence. In December 1947, as the war raged, he placed his destiny with the Jews, joining the nascent IDF, in 1953, Yarkoni passed the Officers Course, and went on to become the Commanding Officer of the Minorities Unit.
Rehavam Zeevi, an officer in the Southern Command and in charge of securing the isolated towns of the Jordan Valley. Yarkoni and Zeevi had met years earlier, when serving in a joint minorities/Jewish unit. Yarkoni accepted the recommendation, and the IDF tracking and counter-terrorism unit was formed under his guidance, Shaked was an acronym for שומרי קו הדרום. Yarkoni was based in the Negev for many years, and was involved in countless operations and he was wounded many times, and his body was peppered with bullet and shrapnel wounds. He lost his hand in combat in November 1959, and was badly wounded in the leg in an explosion. In 1961, after his recovery, Yarkoni was re-appointed as Commanding Officer of the Shaked Battalion, at the time, the Military Commander commented that if Moshe Dayan could be the Ramatkal without an eye, we can have a Battalion Commander with a prosthetic hand. Even by this stage, many Israelis did not know that Amos Yarkoni was not Jewish, during the Six-Day War, Yarkoni served on the Sinai front.
After years of distinguished service, Yarkoni retired from the IDF in 1969, Yarkoni died on February 7,1991, after a prolonged battle with cancer, aged 70. His old friend, Rehavam Zeevi, requested that the IDF bury Yarkoni in a cemetery, despite the fact that as a retired soldier. Both then-Minister of Defense, Moshe Arens, and the Head of Manpower for the IDF approved the request, behind the coffin marched the President of Israel, Chaim Herzog and military leaders, and ordinary Israelis from all walks of life. Also included in the cortège were former members of the Shaked Battalion, streets in several towns are named for him. Because Yarkoni was not Jewish, there was a problem with burying him in the Military Cemetery at Kiryat Shaul, there was an outcry over the unseemliness of the impediment to burying a hero of the stature of Amos Yarkoni in a Military Cemetery
A dogfight, or dog fight, is an aerial battle between fighter aircraft, conducted at close range. Dogfighting first appeared during World War I, shortly after the invention of the airplane, until at least 1992, it was a component in every major war, despite beliefs after World War II that increasingly greater speeds and longer range weapons would make dogfighting obsolete. This differs from aerial warfare, which deals with the involved in planning and executing various missions. The term dogfight has been used for centuries to describe a melee, the term gained popularity during World War II although its origin in air combat can be traced to the latter years of World War I. Both men had orders to kill but neither wanted to harm the other so they exchanged multiple volleys of pistol fire. Dogfighting first emerged in World War I, ever since heavier than air flights became a reality in 1903, people had been trying to figure out how to use this new technology for warfare. Aircraft were initially used as observation vehicles, and early pilots gave little thought to aerial combat.
The new airplanes proved their worth by spotting the hidden German advance on Paris in the month of the war. Enemy pilots at first simply exchanged waves, or shook their fists at each other, due to weight restrictions, only small weapons could be carried on board. Intrepid pilots decided to interfere with enemy reconnaissance by improvised means, including throwing bricks and sometimes rope, pilots quickly began firing hand-held guns at enemy planes, such as pistols and carbines. The Austro-Hungarian pilot initially waved, and Tomić reciprocated, the Austro-Hungarian pilot fired at Tomić with his revolver. Tomić managed to escape, and within weeks, all Serbian and Austro-Hungarian planes were fitted with machine-guns. In August 1914, Staff-Captain Pyotr Nesterov, from Russia, became the first pilot to ram his plane into an enemy spotter aircraft, in October 1914, an airplane was shot down by a hand gun from another plane for the first time over Rheims, France. Once machine guns were mounted to the airplane, either on a mounting or higher on the wings of early biplanes.
The biggest problem was mounting a gun onto an aircraft so that it could be fired forward, through the propeller. Roland Garros solved this problem by mounting steel deflector wedges to the propeller of a Morane Saulnier monoplane and he achieved three kills, but was forced down due to engine failure down behind enemy lines, and captured before he could destroy his plane by burning it. The wreckage was brought to Anthony Fokker, a Dutch designer who built aircraft for the Germans, Fokker decided that the wedges were much too risky, and improved the design by connecting the trigger of an MG08 Maxim machine gun to the timing of the engine. On the evening of July 1,1915, the very first aerial engagement by a plane armed with a synchronized, forward-firing machine gun occurred just to the east of Luneville
The Givati Brigade is an Israel Defense Forces infantry brigade, and serves as its amphibious force. Givati soldiers are designated by purple berets, the Brigades symbol is the fox, alluding to Shualei Shimshon, a unit in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. At the start of the 1948 Palestine war, the brigade was charged with operations in the region of Israel, participating in operations Hametz, Barak. As the war entered its second stage, Givati became the 5th Brigade, was moved to the south, one battalion fought on the Jerusalem front, participating in Operation Nachshon and the Battles of Latrun. When Israel declared independence, Givati consisted of 5 battalions, with commanders such as Jehuda Wallach, Yaakov Pri, Yitzhak Pundak, Tzvi Tzur. A sixth battalion was founded on May 30,1948 from Irgun veterans, the brigade or parts thereof subsequently participated in the Battle of Nitzanim, Operation An-Far, Operation Yoav, etc. It was converted into a brigade in 1956 and its 51st HaBokim HaRishonim infantry battalion transferred to the Golani Brigade.
Givati was reestablished as a infantry brigade and proceeded on to amphibious warfare in 1983. In 1986 the brigades purple beret was officially approved, since 1999 it serves under Israels Southern Command. The Givati Brigade served under the Southern Command and was deployed in the Gaza Strip, the brigade was awarded a medal of honor for its service in the Gaza Strip during the last two years of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, when under the command of Imad Fares. Under Fares command, Givati carried out thousands of operations in the Gaza Strip, the brigade continued its operations in the Gaza Strip under the command of Eyal Eisenberg and the new head of Southern Command, Dan Harel. Givatis Recon Battalion, the Dolev combat engineering platoon and the Bedouin scouts battalion, won a recommendation of honor, Givati forces, combined with a special combat engineering tunnels unit, and IDF Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozers, managed to suppress most of Rafahs tunnels. On May 11 and May 12,2004, two armored personnel carriers of Givatis Dolev engineering battalion were destroyed by Palestinian militants, the two separate attacks, in Gaza Citys Zeitoun neighbourhood and the Philadelphi Route near Rafah and the Egyptian border, claimed the lives of 11 soldiers.
Islamic Jihad militants captured some of the remains, causing outrage in Israel, following international pressure and further Israeli operations in Zeitoun, the bodies of soldiers were returned to Israel. In the Zeitoun incident, UNRWA ambulances were used as transport by healthy Palestinian fighters, UNRWA has described the May 11 incident as a hijacking. After two more soldiers were killed in Rafah, Israel launched Operation Rainbow and this involved Givati forces reinforced by Golani Brigade soldiers with IDF Achzarit HAPCs, a battalion of officers from the class-commanders school and several IDF Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozers. The stated aim of Operation Rainbow was to destroy the infrastructure of Rafah, destroy smuggling tunnels. The brigades Shaked battalion, under the command of a Lt. Col. Ofer was rocked by scandals in the half of 2004 while stationed in the southern Gaza Strip
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force operates as the aerial warfare branch of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28,1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence, as of May 2012 Aluf Amir Eshel serves as the Air Force Commander. The Israeli Air Force formed on May 28,1948, using commandeered or donated civilian aircraft and obsolete, more aircraft were procured, including Boeing B-17s, Bristol Beaufighters, de Havilland Mosquitoes and P-51D Mustangs. The Israeli Air Force played an important part in Operation Kadesh, on June 5,1967, the first day of the Six-Day War, the Israeli Air Force executed Operation Focus, crippling the opposing Arab air forces and attaining air supremacy for the remainder of the war. Shortly after the end of the Six-Day War, Egypt initiated the War of Attrition, on October 7,1973, the IAF conducted Operation Tagar against Egyptian air bases of the Egyptian Air Defence Force. Although initially successful, with 10 bases hit, the urgency of the fighting on the Golan heights forced the operations suspension, since that war most of Israels military aircraft have been obtained from the United States.
Among these are the F-4 Phantom II, A-4 Skyhawk, F-15 Eagle, the Israeli Air Force has operated a number of domestically produced types such as the IAI Nesher, and later, the more advanced IAI Kfir. On June 7,1981, eight IAF F-16A fighters covered by six F-15A jets carried out Operation Opera to destroy the Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osiraq, on June 9,1982, the Israeli Air Force carried out Operation Mole Cricket 19, crippling the Syrian air defence array. The IAF continued to mount attacks on Hezbollah and PLO positions in south Lebanon, on October 1,1985, In response to a PLO terrorist attack which murdered three Israeli civilians in Cyprus, the Israeli air force carried out Operation Wooden Leg. The strike involved the bombing of PLO Headquarters in Tunis, by F-15 Eagles, in 1991, the IAF carried out Operation Solomon which brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In 1993 and 1996, the IAF participated in Operation Accountability and Operation Grapes of Wrath and it took part in many missions since, including during the 2006 Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Cloud and Operation Protective Edge.
On September 6,2007, the Israeli Air Force successfully bombed an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor in Operation Orchard, squadron markings usually go on the tail fin. Forerunners of the Israeli Air Force were the Palestine Flying Service established by the Irgun in 1937, and Sherut Avir, the Israeli Air Force formed on May 28,1948, shortly after Israel declared statehood and found itself under attack. The force consisted of a hodge-podge of commandeered or donated civilian aircraft converted to military use, a variety of obsolete and surplus ex-World War II combat-aircraft were quickly sourced by various means to supplement this fleet. Creativity and resourcefulness were the foundations of early Israeli military success in the air, Israels new fighter-arm first went into action on May 29,1948, assisting efforts to halt the Egyptian advance from Gaza northwards. Four newly arrived Avia S-199s, flown by Lou Lenart, Modi Alon, Ezer Weizman and Eddie Cohen, although damage to the enemy was minimal, two aircraft were lost and Cohen killed, nevertheless the attack achieved its goal and stopped the Egyptians.
After un-assembled planes were strafed on the ground on May 30th at Ekron airfield the fighters were moved to makeshift strip located around the current Herzliya Airport. The Israeli Air Force scored its first aerial victories on June 3 when Modi Alon, flying Avia D.112, the first dogfight against enemy fighters took place a few days later, on June 8, when Gideon Lichtaman shot down an Egyptian Spitfire
Amram Mitzna is an Israeli politician and former general in the IDF. He is a mayor of Haifa and Yeruham and led the Labor Party from 2002 to 2003. He was born in Kibbutz Dovrat to Jewish refugees from Germany and he attended a military boarding school in Haifa, graduating in 1963 and enlisting into the IDF the same year. In 1977 he graduated from the University of Haifa with a degree in geography, before studying at the U. S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, in 1986 he was promoted to major general, and assisted the Head of the Operations branch. In 1987 he became commander of the Central Command, and in 1989 completed the program for public figures at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. In 1990 he became head of the IDFs planning branch, and he retired from the IDF in 1993. In the same year as finishing his career, Mitzna was elected mayor of Haifa representing Labour. He won the Labours leadership elections on 19 November 2002 with 54% of the vote and his position was lambasted by Likud leader Ariel Sharon, though partially implemented by him as the disengagement plan.
Mitzna oversaw Labours second worst electoral performance in the 2003 elections and he resigned as party leader shortly after, replaced by Shimon Peres. In November 2005, the Internal Affairs Minister appointed Mitzna acting mayor of Yeruham, Mitzna resigned from the Knesset to take up the role. In April 2008 and June 2009, Mitzna signed letters of support for the recently created J Street American pro-peace lobby group, on 1 December 2012, Mitzna joined Tzipi Livnis new centrist party, Hatnuah. He was elected to the Knesset in second place on the partys list in the 2013 elections, Amram Mitzna on the Knesset website Amram Mitzna - Labor Haaretz Amram Mitzna Jewish Virtual Library Official website Amram Mitzna
Efraim Effi Eitam is an Israeli politician and former military commander. A former leader of the National Religious Party, he led a breakaway faction, Ahi. He served as a member of the Knesset between 2003 and 2009 and he advocates expelling the vast majority of Israeli Arabs from Israel, calling them a cancer undermining the democratic state of Israel. A Hardal Israeli, he was born in kibbutz Ein Gev, when he was old enough, Eitam joined the Israeli Defense Forces. Eitam has M. A. in Political Science and in International Relations and he is a former student of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He is married, has eight children, and lives in the Israeli moshav of Nov in the Golan Heights, Eitam is a Brigadier General in the Israel Defense Forces, and is considered a war hero by the State of Israel. He participated in Operation Entebbe, in which he commanded the Sayeret Golani and he commanded an infantry battalion in Operation Litani, and an officers school battalion during the 1982 Lebanon War.
During the first Intifada, he commanded the Givati Brigade, in 1988, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered the Israeli Army to beat Palestinian rioters. Eitam was heard over a radio telling his troops to beat, an IDF court-martial convicted four of his soldiers, who testified against him. The Military Advocate General severely reprimanded Eitam, and recommended that he never be promoted and he quit the Army in December 2000. After his retirement from service, Eitam entered politics, joining the National Religious Party. Despite not being a member of the Knesset, he was appointed a Minister without Portfolio on 8 April 2002, serving until 18 September that year, in 2002, Eitam called for Yasser Arafat to be killed. Of Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, being investigated by Israel, he said, Take him out to an orchard and he was first elected to the Knesset in January 2003, and was appointed Minister of Housing and Construction in March 2003. On 10 June 2004, Eitam and Yitzhak Levy quit the government to protest the disengagement plan, the National Religious Party refused to leave the coalition.
In a harsh speech delivered on 11 January 2005, Eitam called Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refuser of democracy, Eitam claimed Sharon was promoting the disengagement plan by threatening and firing objectors, and by making corrupt deals. Despite the harsh criticism, Eitam denounced military refusal and violence, over Passover, Eitam moved to Netzer Hazani. Left-wing members of the Knesset denounced Eitams move, but the speaker of the house, Reuven Rivlin, after the evacuation of Netzer Hazani, Eitam moved to Netzarim, and accompanied them during their evacuation. Because of his objection to military refusal and violence, Eitam was a negotiator between the opposers to the plan and Israeli security forces
The Six-Day War, known as the June War,1967 Arab–Israeli War, or Third Arab–Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10,1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt and Syria. Relations between Israel and its neighbours had never fully normalised following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, in the period leading up to June 1967, tensions became dangerously heightened. In reaction to the mobilisation of Egyptian forces along the Israeli border in the Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptians were caught by surprise, and nearly the entire Egyptian air force was destroyed with few Israeli losses, giving the Israelis air superiority. Simultaneously, the Israelis launched an offensive into the Gaza Strip and the Sinai. After some initial resistance, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser ordered the evacuation of the Sinai, Israeli forces rushed westward in pursuit of the Egyptians, inflicted heavy losses, and conquered the Sinai. Nasser induced Syria and Jordan to begin attacks on Israel by using the initially confused situation to claim that Egypt had defeated the Israeli air strike.
Israeli counterattacks resulted in the seizure of East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank from the Jordanians, on June 11, a ceasefire was signed. Arab casualties were far heavier than those of Israel, fewer than a thousand Israelis had been killed compared to over 20,000 from the Arab forces. Israels military success was attributed to the element of surprise, an innovative and well-executed battle plan, Israel seized control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. Israeli morale and international prestige was greatly increased by the outcome of the war, across the Arab world, Jewish minority communities were expelled, with refugees going to Israel or Europe. After the 1956 Suez Crisis, Egypt agreed to the stationing of a United Nations Emergency Force in the Sinai to ensure all parties would comply with the 1949 Armistice Agreements, in the following years there were numerous minor border clashes between Israel and its Arab neighbors, particularly Syria.
In early November 1966, Syria signed a defense agreement with Egypt. Jordanian units that engaged the Israelis were quickly beaten back, King Hussein of Jordan criticized Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser for failing to come to Jordans aid, and hiding behind UNEF skirts. In May 1967, Nasser received false reports from the Soviet Union that Israel was massing on the Syrian border, the right of innocent, maritime passage must be preserved for all nations. On May 30, Jordan and Egypt signed a defense pact, the following day, at Jordans invitation, the Iraqi army began deploying troops and armoured units in Jordan. They were reinforced by an Egyptian contingent, on June 1, Israel formed a National Unity Government by widening its cabinet, and on June 4 the decision was made to go to war. The next morning, Israel launched Operation Focus, a surprise air strike that was the opening of the Six-Day War. Before the war, Israeli pilots and ground crews had trained extensively in rapid refitting of aircraft returning from sorties and this has contributed to the Arab belief that the IAF was helped by foreign air forces