On May 2, Israel will celebrate the 69th anniversary of its independence that was achieved against all odds in 1948. Next month, on June 5, the Jewish state will mark another historic event. It also will be the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. In that war, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fought against the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan (as well as troops from other Arab states), conquered the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights and the West Bank in a whirlwind attack and liberated East Jerusalem, including the Western Wall. It was the culmination of 2,000 years of longing to return to that site.
It is doubtful whether there was a more decisive event in the history of Israel and the Middle East. In less than a week, Israel was transformed from a tiny state, hanging by a thread, surrounded by enemies armed to the teeth and under threat of immediate annihilation, into a confident regional giant.