In 1967, Israel launched a surprise attack against neighboring Egypt, Syria and Jordan in response to a buildup of military presence along shared borders and the perceived threat of an invasion. Beginning on May 10, Rabbi Yakov Latowicz of Chabad of Ventura will lead a six-session course on the brief war entitled “Survival of a Nation: Exploring Israel Through the Lens of the Six-Day War.”
The course is the third in a three-part series of courses designed to explore a variety of topics, said Latowicz, and is being offered via the adult education branch of Chabad-Lubavitch, the Jewish Learning Institute.
Nineteen years after becoming an independent nation, Israelis found themselves forced to make a tough decision as the armies of three nations gathered on their borders.
“Suddenly, the Jews realized they were facing another war that threatened their existence, basically facing the prospect of a second Holocaust,” said Latowicz. “It was so desperate, rabbis were going into the city of Tel Aviv and taking public parks and consecrating the ground [so that they can be used as cemeteries], they were expecting so many casualties.”
A pre-emptive strike was launched and, within a matter of hours, the air forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan were practically destroyed. Over the course of six days, more than 20,000 lost their lives, with fewer than 1,000 being Israeli. By the end, Israel gained a significant amount of land in the form of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the spiritually significant city of Jerusalem.
Each session of the course will focus on a different perspective of the war, from its historical context and global reaction to the importance of Israel for Jews living in diaspora.
“The West Bank, Gaza, all of these dilemmas are really a side effect of the ’67 war,” said Latowicz. “By studying that story it gives a lot of context to many of the challenges that modern Israel is facing today.”
The course will begin on Wednesday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m., registration required, $79 per student or $140 per couple, teenagers to senior citizens welcome. For more information, visit www.chabadventura.com or call 658-7441