The Golan Heights, Israel, 2009

The Golan Heights was the site of just one of the fronts in the Arab-Israeli War of June 1967. Over 6,000 Israelis were injured or lost their lives in the war as a whole, and nearly 4500 Syrians were killed or captured in “The Golan” alone. One of the many consequences of this “Six-Day War” is the continuing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both previously Jordanian, and of the Golan Heights, previously Syrian. The war did give Israel access to such formerly forbidden holy sites such as Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and it also resulted in an enthusiastic but largely temporary migration of Jews from Western countries to Israel.

But that war also provoked severe anti-Semitism in Jewish neighborhoods in Arab countries and in the West. Despite the Israeli military victory, in other words, the war laid the groundwork for future conflicts on all sides. In the eastern portion of the Golan for example, which still belongs to Syria, fighting continues even now between the established government and the Syrian opposition.

The first photo below is of our 2009 tour guide, a veteran of the 1967 war. The second and third are of the view from the western Golan down toward Israel. A view of some fencing, some bunkers and a mine warning left over from the warisrael 516israel 504israel 513 follows in my next post.