Less than 20 years after declaring statehood, Israel was faced with extinction. The Six Day War was a crossroad…Israel would either find a way to survive, or they would be wiped off the face of the earth.
A new film, In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem, tells the story through the eyes of those who were there, and live footage taken during the 1967 war. Key characters include a young commander of the 55th Paratrooper brigade and his young protege who was pressed into service as an intelligence operative. That protege provides the majority of the eye witness accounts during the movie.
The groundwork of events leading up to the war draws the viewer in and provides a realistic view of what it was like on June 5 when the Israel Defense Forces carried out a miraculous preemptive strike that very likely saved the state of Israel.
In Our Hands commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, when Israel stood alone to take on Egypt, Jordan and Syria…forces that were several times larger in manpower and military equipment. Yet, against all odds, Israel not only survived, but tripled the size of their country in only six days!
The struggles faced by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, and the rise of Moshe Dayan as Defense Minister, are key elements in understanding Israel’s strategy and were well-depicted in the film. (Dayan’s daughter provides some commentary.) Likewise, the valiant efforts of the warriors on Ammunition Hill and other battlefronts are handled realistically, but graphically. The storyline takes viewers through the entirety of the Six Day War, including air attacks and ground movement into the Sinai Peninsula, tank battles on the Golan Heights, and surrounding and recapturing the Old City. Scenes also describe the challenges faced by Jordan’s King Hussein in his attempt to broker a ceasefire.
Overall, the film was well-done, factually accurate, and was a “jackpot” for history buffs. Two words of warning, though:
- The film starts fast by diving right into the details of what led up to the war. Those arriving late and those distracted by others settling in will miss some key information.
- Gordon Robertson, CEO of Christian Broadcasting Network (the production company) spends several minutes at the end of the film re-telling the story and weaving Scripture into it. While I appreciated the Scriptural references and the effort to draw viewers’ focus to Biblical truth, it seemed that he took 10 minutes to say what could have either been woven into the movie, or stated more briefly at the end. For me, it took away a bit of the “punch.”
Despite those warnings, however, In Our Hands is well worth the time and cost for those who love Israel and are interested in her history. The Six Day War was “make or break,” so if that is of interest to you, this film is for you!
The movie was to be a one-night engagement. However, an encore showing is scheduled at theaters around the country on June 1. Find information and order tickets here. It is in limited theaters and many of them sold out on May 23, so if you plan to go, get your tickets right away!