Syrian attempt to divert headwaters of the Jordan river foiled by Israeli operation to save Israel's vital water source.

The National Water Carrier

Water shortage is a severe problem in Israel. There is not much water in this area and the existing sources lie partly in Syria and Jordan. The extensive agricultural lands in the south of the country are  served by insufficient reservoirs. The main water reserves are in the north, but here the tracts of agricultural land are smaller. The solution to the problem was simple: transfer water from the north to the south.

The plan called for conveying water from the north to the springs of the Yarkon River and from there southward to the area around Kibbutz Magen in the northwest Negev. This part of the project is called the Yarkon-Negev line. The National Water Carrier, which crosses Israel from north to south, is the main artery connecting all regional water projects in the State. It thus became possible to completely control all the water in the country, and to convey it efficiently wherever it was most needed.

Work on this substantial, large scale project began in 1953 and ended in 1964. The Syrians objected furiously, claiming that Israel had no right to make changes in this region, which was a designated open area not subject to change by either side. The United Nations exerted a great deal of pressure, which left Israel with no choice but to build the National Water Carrier from the northwest section of the Sea of Galilee.

The Carrier is 130 kilometers (81 miles) in length. The northern section makes its way through tunnels and open canals, with occasional ponds for water concentration. Farther south the water is conveyed through a water pipe concealed deep in the earth.

While the National Water Carrier was under construction, Syria and Jordan undertook water projects of their own, in the hope of drying up the water sources of the Jordan river. This was in direct contravention to international agreements. The Syrians attempted to divert water from the Banias River to the southern Golan Heights and together with the Jordanians, to utilize water from the Yarmukh River.

The water conflict was the background to many disputes with Syria during the 60’s. Another source of contention was the working of arable land near the border.



P.L.O. founded, calling for the destruction of the State of Israel and Zionism, headed by Akhmed Shukeiry.


Shmuel Yosef Agnon awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.


Egyptian mobilization in Sinai; Syrian shelling of northern Israel leads to Six Day War.

The Six Day War

THE SIX DAY WAR - JUNE 5-11, 1967

In May 1967 military preparations were openly under way on the Egyptian side of the border. The Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, deployed hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles and thousands of soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula. He also fortified the Sinai airfields. Then he requested the withdrawal of the international force which had been stationed in Sinai since the Sinai Campaign of 1956.

 Once again the Straits of Tiran were closed to Israeli sea traffic. Jordan and Syria concluded a military treaty with Egypt. Top level diplomatic efforts were made to avoid escalation of the conflict. In Israel, reserve soldiers were mobilized and deployed along the borders. The situation was extremely tense.

On June 5, at daybreak, Israel’s Air Force destroyed the Egyptian Air Force on the ground. At the same time, Israeli Infantry and Armored Corps entered the Sinai Peninsula, signaling the outbreak of war with Egypt. The Jordanians began shelling along the border but later concentrated mainly on Jerusalem, and residents of the city took to the shelters. Israel had previously requested that King Hussein stay out of the war, since they had no intention of attacking Jordan. It was therefore assumed in Israel that the shelling was merely symbolic, to appease Jordan’s allies. However, that afternoon the Jordanians captured the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Headquarters in Jerusalem, a move which threatened the city, and fighting spread throughout Jerusalem. While hostilities continued with Egypt and Jordan, Syrian warplanes bombed several targets. Israel retaliated by severely crippling the Syrian Air Force and when Iraqi planes joined the fighting, the long arm of the Israel Air Force reached as far as Iraq.

Within six days the IDF controlled the entire Sinai peninsula and was deployed along the banks of the Suez Canal. The Golan Heights in the north were in Israeli hands, and the Jordan River formed the eastern border. Jerusalem was liberated and reunited, once again becoming one city. The 28th day of Iyar, 5727 (June 7, 1967) was designated Jerusalem Day, in honor of the brilliant victory which stunned the entire world.

The Six Day War was a milestone in the history of the State of Israel. It was followed by unprecedented development and expansion. Immigration increased, especially from prosperous countries. The demand for housing benefited the building industry, with major efforts directed towards settlements in the new territories. Eight hundred IDF soldiers lost their lives in the Six Day War.

The architects of this great victory were Moshe Dayan, Minister of Defence, and Yitzhak Rabin, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.


Jerusalem is reunited; Israel takes Sinai, Golan, Judea & Samaria.




Beginning of Aliya from the USSR and the series of show trials and harrassments of "refuseniks", Prisoners of Zion.

Jewish settlement renewed in Gush Etzion and begins on the Golan.

Settlement After The Six Day War

After the Six Day War efforts were made to establish settlements in the new territories. By 1972 nine new settlements had been set up in Sinai and the Gaza Strip; 17 in the Jordan Valley, Judea and  Samaria, and 15 in the Golan Heights. The town of Yamit was built in northeast Sinai. In the Golan Heights, the center of settlement activity was the city of Katzrin. Many of the settlements in Judea and Samaria were located at sites of historical Jewish settlement prior to the War of Independence, such as the Etzion Bloc and Hebron.

Within the Green Line (as the June 4, 1967 border came to be known) development of the Galilee was a priority. Isolated settlements dotted the countryside. Many of these doubled as observation posts (mitzpim). Other communities were based on sophisticated industry and high technology. Industrial centers include the Tefen Region, in the heart of a hitherto unpopulated area. The underlying idea is to concentrate new industries in a single area (a sort of hothouse), supplying them with services and assisting them to become independent and profitable.

When the gates of the former Soviet Union were opened to those wishing to leave, large numbers of Russians arrived in Israel. Many of them settled in the Galilee , where the population balance had hitherto weighed against the Jewish inhabitants.

United Jerusalem, The Eternal Capital Of The State Of Israel - Iyar 28, 57271969

The Six Day War liberated the eastern section of Jerusalem. With the unification of Jerusalem, the city grew both territorially and numerically to become the largest in Israel. Before the war the population numbered 260,000 Jews and Arabs. By 1972 the population was 300,000 and today the  figure is close to 550,000. Geographically the city has more than doubled.

In 1980 the Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law, imposing state rule on the entire city. Jerusalem was declared the indivisible capital of Israel. A further law was passed to protect the holy places of all three major religions. It states: “The holy places will be protected from desecration and other damage. It is not permitted to prevent freedom of access to the holy places to people of any religion.”

Yitzhak Rabin, who served as Chief of Staff during the Six Day War, received an honorary doctorate at the Hebrew University. When accepting his award on Mount Scopus he said: “The entire nation was moved and many wept when they received tidings of the capture of the Old City... The paratroopers sobbed openly on the stones of the Western Wall. This phenomenon is unequaled in the history of the peoples of the world. Members of the Defense Forces do not customarily express themselves in such terms, but those who shared in that hour on the Temple Mount witnessed a revelation of unsurpassed magnitude..."

Beginning of War of Attrition along Suez Canal.




Jewish and Israeli airpassengers become a target of skyjack terrorism.



Black September crushed in Jordan and PLO relocates to southern Lebanon.


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Newsbriefs 1960-1969




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08 Sep 2005 / 4 Elul 5765 0