The six-day war - 1967
After increasing terrorist attacks plagued Israel for years. Syria threatened to stop supplies of water through Israel. Egyptians forced UN peacekeeping troops from the Sinai buffer zone and closed off Israel's access to shipping routes. Neither the US nor Europe offered to help, and they even warned Israel not to start a war. Meanwhile, Arab leaders spoke openly of their intent to drive every one of Israel's men, women, and children "into the sea."
In early summer of 1967, it had become clear that Israel had to do something or to suffer severe devastation. The combined Arab armies of Syria and Egypt along with Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq were lined up along Israel's border. The Jewish nation was overwhelmingly against enemy tanks, manpower, and other military might.
Then, in early morning of June 5th, Israel's Air Force launched a surprise attack on Egypt's airfields and destroyed nearly all of their jets while they were still on the ground. Victory after victory then occurred in favor of the Israelis, but the retaking of the eastern half of Jerusalem that defined a pivotal moment in Israel's history. After all, Jerusalem was, and is, the holiest site in the world for the Jewish people.
By the end of the Six-Day War, Israel had captured enough land to triple in size. They would eventually and willingly exchange "land-for-peace" over the following years, but Jerusalem was sacred. The miraculous victory of 1967 brought about a new way of thinking about Israel from the international community. Israel was no longer seen as weak. While the Arabs saw this also, they were nonetheless humiliated as well as furious!
While the 1967 War resulted in a miraculous victory for Israel, it also came at a great price. Proportionately to populations, about the same percentage of Israelis lost their lives in the Six-Day War as the United States experienced during the eight years of the Vietnam War.