We got back to our unit the next day, the fifth day of the war. We joined our men, trying to catch up on lost sleep and hiding from the very hot sun in the little shade that our jeeps gave us. We now saw many Egyptian soldiers coming out of the desert looking for water, which we usually gave them, and then we told them to swim across the canal and go back home.
One thing surprised us on the Egyptian side. That was the eruption of gunfire on their side from time to time. We realized that the Egyptians were shooting some of their returning soldiers after they swam back to their side of the Suez Canal. Unbelievable as it may seem, it looked like they did not want these returning soldiers telling the truth about their defeat in the war. We were visited by our commander, Brigadier General Yoffe, who thanked us for our contribution. That talk to our recon unit is immortalized in at one of the many books that were published after the war. We had achieved our goal in four days. By the fifth day we had finished fighting. The war raged on at other fronts, but ours fell silent. We were released from the service shortly after the fighting stopped because there was no one left that could threaten us.
In sum, our jeep force lost about one third of our men in this war, all brave men who gave their all for their country and families that they would survive.
When it was over, it was clear to the fighting men that it was not a fight about making Israel a bigger country. We thought, as Abba Eban said at the UN, that the Arab countries could get their lost land back if they were willing to negotiate peace with us. But again, as in the past and to this day, with two exceptions they made the wrong decision and continued to attack Israel. In the beginning they did it verbally at the UN, Later when they recovered, they attacked with terror and their armies.
As for our side, the idea of holding onto the territories captured during the war came mostly from those religious groups that did not take part in the fighting. Of course, the very wise Arab answer was the famous "three No’s of Khartoum:" "No recognition," "No talks," "No peace with Israel." So the stage was set for the next round. That made the work of the new settlers and their supporters much easier because there was no one to talk to.
I saw no miracles during the war, as some ignorant of the facts would later claim. What I did see was men fighting with everything they had, actually on both sides. We fought better and smarter we were better trained and led, and that is what brought our victory. Not some miracle.
Michael Shacham is a well known American-Israel sculptor. A brief biography is presented below.
His Six Day War Diary is presented in parts:
About Michael Shacham:
Shacham Sculpture Studio
Shacham Sculpture Studio
A Short Biography
Michael Shacham has had a long and interesting professional career as a sculptor. Born in New York City, he grew up on a kibbutz in Israel.He started learning sculpture at a very early age, being encouraged by his grandfather Samuel Persoff, himself a professional artist. Afterwards he studied as an apprentice to Israeli Sculptor Y. Shemi, and later with I. Danziger. He then studied at the Art Students League of New York for almost five years, and took some art history courses at the New School. Returning to Israel at the end of 1966, he built the first successful art bronze foundry in Israel. It is still operating today under the name of AP. Casting. In 1974 he returned to working as a sculptor full time. Michael Shacham had his first one man show in 1967 at a gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel. He has since had many exhibitions of his work in Israel, Europe and in the USA, resulting in a large number of sculptures in private and public collections both here and overseas. Mr. Shacham has also won several public commissions including “The Dolphins”, at Metroplex I and the Long Beach Island library, Birds in Flight at Metroplex II, The Memorial for the Unknown soldier in Israel, and The “Holocaust Torah” relief. which was commissioned by Temple B’nai Or in Morristown NJ and was unveiled on March 31 2000. Mr. Shacham is teaching sculpture at present at the Morris County Art Association, and at the American Woodcarving School. He taught at Ramapo Collage in the spring of 2000, and privately. While most of his work is pure sculpture, he has done some Judaic work such Menorot, and has sculpted jewelry.
Judgment Day Bronze, 3' High x 6' Long
My main artistic direction is toward figurative and more realistic work rather than the cascade of changing styles that was typical of the art of the 20th century being promoted in much of the art world publications. I still believe that there must be a reason to create fine art, and that reason has nothing to do with the prevailing theories of art that are promoted by various art critics in periodicals and curators in some of the national museums. Many of these people have embraced artists that have great sounding theories, but do not show much artistic talent in the execution of these works, so when these works are exhibited, they need someone to explain them to the public to justify their existence, and therein lays the opportunity for a curator to write and expand upon his/her artistic theories, and perhaps gain national recognition. When this happens they start feeding upon each other’s theories and in the processes the really fine art gets lost.
In my view, talent, quality of execution, and the power of ideas dealing with the essence of life in its beauty, power, love, war, struggle, human depth, and sometimes confusion, the search for self, and self-fulfillment, are the source of my inspiration. I see paintings and sculpture as the artist’s language with which we can communicate with the world around us, and we hope that we do not need an interpreter to use another language to reach our public. When I am at my best, I would like to believe that the public can feel my artwork reaching to the depths of their souls, as it comes from mine.
This material is copyright by Michael Shacham, 2007, and protected by intellectual property law. All rights reserved. Any commercial use requires written permission of the author.
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