The Atlantic

The Astonishing Israeli Concession of 1967

In a triumphant moment, Israel’s flag was hoisted over the newly conquered Temple Mount—then quickly taken down.
Source: Government Press Office / Reuters

On June 6, 1967, Major Arik Achmon, chief intelligence officer for Brigade 55 of Israel’s paratrooper reservists, celebrated his 34th birthday while standing on a rooftop in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood that overlooked no-man’s-land, a strip of minefields and barbed wire and fortified bunkers separating Israeli-held West Jerusalem from Jordanian-held East Jerusalem. Raising binoculars, he could see little through the near-total darkness and the smoke rising from artillery shells falling on either side of the urban divide. But when he radioed headquarters, seeking an update on Jordanian troop movements, the answer was the same he’d been receiving all day: Sorry, we know as little as you do.

The astonishing, untold story of the battle for Jerusalem was how ill-prepared Israel was for the most mythic battle of its history: The paratroopers’ conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City, including the two sites holiest to Judaism, the Temple Mount

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