Greatest Battles In The History Of Modern Israel

Israeli infantry (left) and Palmach elite Jewish infantry (right) prepare to face the Egyptians at Beersheba in October, 1948.
Israeli infantry (left) and Palmach elite Jewish infantry (right) prepare to face the Egyptians at Beersheba in October, 1948.

Since Israel became a sovereign state in the years following World War II, it has been engaged in a seemingly ceaseless strings of battles. Most of the wars fought by Israel in the aftermath of World War II were in a bid to expand its territory. Superior weaponry and good strategies led to more victories than losses for Israel. Some of the greatest battles in the history of modern Israel are looked at below.

Operation El Ha-Har

The Operation El Ha-Har was a battle fought between October 18th and 24th in 1948. The offensive was launched by the Israeli Defense Forces on villages in the southwestern part of Jerusalem. The Etzioni and Harel Brigades made up the Israeli Defense Army. The villages were protected by elements of the Egyptian army. The Israel military sent out scouts to acquaint themselves with the terrain of enemy territory and observe enemy activities. Armed with this information, the Israelis strategized on various offenses and their likely outcomes.The operation took place in line with Operation Yoav.

The objectives of the military operation were to expand the Jerusalem Corridor, which could only be done by driving out the hostile units from the desired territories. By the end of the battle, the Israeli Defense Forces had invaded and captured such villages as Sufla, Dayr al-Hawa, Jarash, al-Buray, Bayt ‘itab, Bayt Umm al-Mays, and al-Tannur. Weaponry used included land mines, Davidka mortars, and artillery fire.

Battle of Beersheba

The Battle of Beersheba was fought on October 21, 1948. The offensive was launched by the Israeli Defense Forces against the Egyptian army which was occupying Beersheba. The attack was carried out in line with objectives of the Operation Yoav. Following Israel’s victories in claiming Egypt’s territories, Beersheba served as the only connection to Egypt’s eastern army wing. Capturing the city was, therefore, critical for Israel’s forces. The Egyptian army protected the town by use of barbed wires, anti-tank ditches, and 25 elevated fire positions. The army was also armed with artillery and mortars. The army was however caught off guard by the offensive which increased the chances of the Israel military emerging victorious. The battle resulted in Israel’s occupation of Beersheba, and it became an integral city in Israel’s plans to redistribute its population.

Battle of Abu-Ageila

The Battle of Abu-Ageila was fought on June 5th and 6th in 1967. The battle was fought between Israeli Defense forces and Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula. The Israel army had superior weaponry to the Egyptian forces, which included guns and tanks. The battle was a subset of the greater Six-Day War. The Israelis relied on intelligence on enemy tactics and strategies to launch attacks. A decisive victory for Israel drove out the entire Egyptian army from the Sinai desert.

Battle of Karameh

The Battle of Karameh was fought on March 21, 1968. Israeli forces attacked the village of Karameh in Jordan, where they were engaged with the combined forces of Jordanian army and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Israeli forces were determined to destroy the Palestine military camp and capture the leader of Fatah, Yasser Arafat. Israel forces’ objectives were however curtailed by heavy fire from the Jordanian Army and guerrilla tactics from the PLO. It was in the battle that the first instance of the use of suicide bombers by Palestine was witnessed.

The Israeli Defense Forces retreated after inflicting heavy damage on the camp, and capturing nearly 140 PLO members. Israel won the battle militarily although Palestinian patriotism surged, as Palestine declared victory in the battle. The battle was part of the greater War of Attrition.

Other important battles in the history of modern Israel, and their respective dates, have included the Battle of Shdwan Island (January of 1971), the Battle of Ismailia (October of 1973), Operation Opera (Operation Babylon) (June 7, 1981), and the Ain es Saheb Aerial Strike (October 5, 2003) among many others. Although Israel has not launched any major offensive attack in the last few years, tensions remain high between it and its neighbors and Palestine.

Greatest Battles In The History Of Modern Israel

Greatest Battles in the History of Modern Israel Date
Operation El Ha-Har October of 1948
Battle of Beersheba October 21st, 1948
Battle of Abu-Ageila June 5th-6th, 1967
Battle of Karameh March 21st, 1968
Battle of Shdwan Island January of 1971
Battle of Ismailia October of 1973
Operation Opera (Operation Babylon) June 7th, 1981
Ain es Saheb Aerial Strike October 5th, 2003
Battle of Bint Jbeil July and August of 2006
Operation Beach Boys August of 2006
Operation Orchard September 6th, 2007

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