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An Unintended Conquest

IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin "invites" Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to the Kotel, or Western Wall, which had just been liberated by Israeli troops during the 1967 Six-Day War. This Sunday is Yom Yerushalayim, the 45th anniversary of that milestone event in Jewish history.

IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin "invites" Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to the Kotel, or Western Wall, which had just been liberated by Israeli troops during the 1967 Six-Day War. This Sunday is Yom Yerushalayim, the 45th anniversary of that milestone event in Jewish history.

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If the Jordanian guns caught them in the open as they crossed no-man’s-land, his battalion would be shredded. But Yaffe hoped that the Israeli bombardment prior to the assault would stun the Jordanians, including artillery spotters, sufficiently to permit the attack force to reach the enemy trenches.

At least 50 yards separated the two barbed wire concertinas, a stretch almost certain to be mined, but it would take too long to attempt to blow a path through with bangalores. The intensive shelling of the area before the attack was designed in part to detonate the mines, but the results could not be certain.

Returning to Bait Hakerem, the company commanders briefed their platoon commanders. Capt. Rutenberg, who would lead his men onto Ammunition Hill, said they would cross no-man’s-land in single file. If someone stepped on a mine, the men behind would step on him and continue moving forward in a straight line.

Under no circumstances would anyone stop to tend the wounded until the enemy positions dominating no-man’s-land had been taken.

Abraham Rabinovich is a former reporter with The Jerusalem Post who covered the Six-Day War. His classic account of the conflict, from which this essay was adapted, has just been published in a revised and expanded eBook – “The Battle for Jerusalem: An Unintended Conquest That Echoes Still” – available at Amazon.com.

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About the Author: Abraham Rabinovich is a former reporter with The Jerusalem Post who covered the Six-Day War. His classic account of the conflict, from which this essay was adapted, has just been published in a revised and expanded eBook – “The Battle for Jerusalem: An Unintended Conquest That Echoes Still” – available at Amazon.com.


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IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin "invites" Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to the Kotel, or Western Wall, which had just been liberated by Israeli troops during the 1967 Six-Day War. This Sunday is Yom Yerushalayim, the 45th anniversary of that milestone event in Jewish history.

Israel had no intention of capturing Jerusalem’s Old City when the Six-Day War began 45 years ago. Many of its government ministers, especially the religious ones, opposed the idea, warning that the world would never accept Jewish rule over Christianity’s holiest places.

Although the army had numerous contingency plans regarding targets in the region, a plan for taking the Old City was not among them.

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