One of Israel’s most worrisome concerns in the days preceding the 1967 Six Day War was that the Egyptian Air Force would attack the nuclear reactor in Dimona. This was revealed in the newly released and declassified secret documents of the IDF archives, to mark the 48th anniversary of that war, which began June 5.
The war broke out with the Israel Air Force’s surprise preemptive strike, which within three hours destroyed the entire Egyptian Air Force, sitting like ducks on the tarmacs of its airfields.
On June 2, the government’s security cabinet convened for a tense and dramatic meeting with the IDF General Staff. It was the first session to include Moshe Dayan as the new defense minister, appointed only a day before, after prime minister Levi Eshkol was forced due to public pressure to relinquish the defense post.
Eshkol’s decision to step down as defense minister was a result of a confusing speech that he delivered during a live radio broadcast in which he stuttered. The impression on the Israeli public, already under tremendous fear of another Holocaust, was overwhelming.
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