From 1948 to 1967: The Secret to Israel’s Victory

June 3, 2024

In 1967, something extraordinary unfolded on the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem. After Egypt, Syria and Jordan all declared war on Israel, the IDF miraculously defeated all of Israel’s enemies on every front. Most meaningfully, the Jordanian attack meant that the IDF was given a green light to liberate the Old City of Jerusalem – including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, the site of the First and Second Temples. For 19 years, from 1948 – 1967, these holy sites were under Jordanian control, and no Jew was permitted to enter the Old City. In 1948, Israel was born, but it was like a body without a heart. 

Israeli paratroopers, undeterred by the relentless sniper fire from the Jordanian Legion, raced through the ancient alleyways, driven by a singular purpose: to liberate the heart of their nation. This momentous event, against all odds, marked the miraculous reunification of Jerusalem and ignited an unparalleled wave of joy and awe across the land.

Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neriah (1913-1995) asked a profound question in the aftermath of this miraculous victory: Why did it take 19 years for Jerusalem to be reunited with its rightful owners, the people of Israel? The answer, Rabbi Neriah proposed, lies in the essence of Jerusalem itself – “a city bound together as one” (Psalm 122:3). The Jerusalem Talmud explains that Jerusalem “joins each Jew to the other.” Jerusalem is meant to be a focal point of unity and cohesion for the Jewish people (Baba Kama 7:7).

The sages used a peculiar phrase when teaching that the Passover offering may only be brought in the city of Jerusalem. For this offering, the Talmud explains, it is necessary that “all of Israel enter through one gate” (Zevachim 114b). This unique expression of unity — “entering through one gate” – resonates with profound prophetic significance.

Reflecting on the divisions that plagued Israel during the War of Independence in 1948, Rabbi Neriah revealed how internal strife hindered the city’s conquest. At that time, there wasn’t a united IDF; rather, different militias like the Haganah and Etzel operated independently, lacking a unified command. This fragmented approach mirrored the disunity within the nation. Just as the Passover offering required “all of Israel to enter through one gate,” so too did the liberation of Jerusalem demand a unified front. The absence of cohesion among Jewish forces in 1948 prevented the fulfillment of Jerusalem’s destiny.

While in 1948 there was a lack of unity, and different factions each had their own agendas and militias, by 1967 everything had changed. Israeli forces were now united under the banner of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Jews of every background – religious Jews, secular kibbutz members, Jews of every race – were all united under one banner. They fought shoulder to shoulder, without divisions, with one goal: to reclaim Jerusalem. And reclaim it they did. When they marched through Lions Gate, it wasn’t merely a military victory – it was a testament to the power of unity, demonstrating what can be achieved when people unite for a common purpose.

The very same dynamic played out the first time the people of Israel conquered Jerusalem. When Joshua conquered the land of Israel, he did not succeed in taking Jerusalem. It was only 400 years later, when the people of Israel were finally united under the rule of King David, that they were able to capture Jerusalem.

Because “all of Israel” joined together, they merited to go to Jerusalem.

The lessons of Jerusalem are relevant to us all – both Christians and Jews. When we learn to set aside our differences and arguments, legitimate as they might be, and stand together, shoulder to shoulder, God will stand together with us and give us the strength to defeat the many enemies that threaten Israel and America.

Keep God’s Land, a groundbreaking movement of Christians and Jews dedicated to strengthening and defending Israel’s right to its biblical heartland, is the perfect example of what Jews and Christians can accomplish when we stand together. Since the launch of this movement in February, the group has already made an impact in the media and in Washington, DC – and the best is yet to come.

If you haven’t done so yet, make sure to join the movement. Together, we will stand up for Israel and keep God’s land!

Rabbi Elie Mischel

Rabbi Elie Mischel is the Director of Education at Israel365. Before making Aliyah in 2021, he served as the Rabbi of Congregation Suburban Torah in Livingston, NJ. He also worked for several years as a corporate attorney at Day Pitney, LLP. Rabbi Mischel received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Mischel also holds a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law and an M.A. in Modern Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He is also the editor of HaMizrachi Magazine.

Rabbi Elie Mischel

Rabbi Elie Mischel is the Director of Education at Israel365. Before making Aliyah in 2021, he served as the Rabbi of Congregation Suburban Torah in Livingston, NJ. He also worked for several years as a corporate attorney at Day Pitney, LLP. Rabbi Mischel received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Mischel also holds a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law and an M.A. in Modern Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He is also the editor of HaMizrachi Magazine.

Subscribe

Sign up to receive daily inspiration to your email

Recent Posts
Naso – When God ‘Shines His Face’ Towards Us
Remembering Sara Blaustein: A True Woman of Valor
Lost in Translation

Related Articles

Subscribe

Sign up to receive daily inspiration to your email