After 50 years, the IDF’s Archives at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, released today (Thursday) a rare glimpse into the past: Minutes from the IDF General Staff’s last meeting prior to the start of the Six Day War. Then IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin: “We have no one to rely on but ourselves.”
Commanders meeting in the Sinai Photo Credit: Alex Agor, in camp/IDF Archives at Israeli Ministry of Defense/Channel 2 News
The IDF’s Archives at the Israeli Ministry of Defense revealed today (Thursday) minutes from the last IDF General Staff meeting before the Six Day War, as well as the first meeting after the victory, providing a rare glimpse into the dramatic discussions that led to the sweeping victory over the Arab armies. “The time has come for us to stop fooling ourselves into thinking that someone will come to our aid,” said then IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin, whose testimony, along with other intelligence assessments, ultimately led the IDF General Staff to understand that there is no escape from launching a preemptive strike.
At the last meeting prior to the war’s outbreak on May 19, 1967, senior officers of the General Staff reviewed the entire range of threats from the Arab states and stressed the Soviet’s extensive involvement through their support of the Arab states. Rabin estimated that the attack by the Arab states would be comprised of the integrated armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and as a result, requested that all military units be prepared for an all-out war scenario.
“We have no one to rely on but ourselves” Photo Credit: Beni Hadar, in camp/IDF Archives at Israeli Ministry of Defense/Channel 2 News
In the course of the discussion, Aharon Yariv, the head of the IDF’s military intelligence, assessed that there may be a direct Soviet interest in fanning tensions in the region. “According to our assessment of information we’ve received, the Soviets are apparently backing Egypt and Syria,” explained Yariv. “The USSR Ambassador to the UN’s avoidance of meeting with the American representative only increases these suspicions.”
“We are preparing for war,” touring the northern border Photo Credit: Alex Agor, in camp/IDF Archives at Israeli Ministry of Defense/Channel 2 News
The greatest threat after the war: Russia Photo Credit: IDF Archives at Israeli Ministry of Defense/Channel 2 News
Later, when asked about the West’s position on a possible eruption in the region, Rabin replied that it appeared that Israel remained alone in the campaign. “We have no one to rely on but ourselves, I suggest that anyone who will count on someone else, will be aware of his error,” Rabin said.
Rabin emphasized to his officers that although Israel is not interested in war, it must prepare for it. “I want each and every commander and soldier, to the last one, to know that we are preparing for war – not just training or exercises,” he said. “The army needs to know that it is prepared for war, and that that is what the people were called for. We did not choose this war, but we prepared ourselves for it. This matter at hand is the most serious I recall.”