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1969-2009. THE WAR OF ATTRITION SERVICE MEDAL. Introduction. In 2003, the Israeli government decided to distribute medals of service to IDF soldiers who served in the War of Attrition, between June 11 th 1967 and August 8 th 1970 .

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In 2003, the Israeli government decided to distribute medals of service to IDF soldiers who served in the War of Attrition, between June 11th 1967 and August 8th 1970.

The heaviest fighting during the war, which pitted IDF forces against Egypt, Syria and Jordan, as well as terrorist factions, occurred between March 1969 and August 1970.

The course of the war was heavily influenced by Cold War politics, as the superpowers contended for a foothold in the region.

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Historical Background

  • The War of Attrition can best be understood in the context of the Six Day War (June 5th- June 11th, 1967), which was dominated by Israel. After launching a preemptive attack following intelligence warnings, Israel rapidly gained strategic depth, including the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and half the Sinai. These gains influenced Israel's strategic territorial depth. However, this left the surrounding countries vengeful.

  • Following the war, the Arab states signed the Khartoum agreement, stating the “3 No’s” - No peace, No recognition and no Negotiations with Israel - as well as agreeing on attrition as a dominant strategy, relying on isolated attacks instead of all-out war.

  • The IDF had to accommodate itself to terrorism and guerrilla warfare, as well as ongoing exchanges of fire.

Israeli territory on 4.4.67

Territory won in ‘67

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War Outbreak: Egypt

  • In March 1969, Nassar publicly rejected the ceasefire of June 1967.

  • This war took the form of an exchange of fire initiated by Egyptian forces along the Suez Canal, exchanges of fire in the Jordan Valley, and fighting with Arab forces along the ceasefire lines in the Golan Heights. Egypt intended to maintain an ongoing war, in order to exhaust Israeli capabilities.


  • The IDF took several measures in response to these offensives. When the Israel Air Force began its bombing attacks against targets in Egypt’s depth, Nasser turned to the Soviet Union in desperation to provide Egypt not only with Russian equipment, but also with Russian air and ground troops. Russia reluctantly agreed.

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The War: Egypt and Jordan

  • Aided by Soviet forces, Egyptian bombardment was intensified, along with land, sea and air attacks on Israeli positions. Israel responded by continuing to employ the IAF, as well as sporadic ground action. Israel responded with a policy which PM Meir dubbed “asymmetrical response”.


  • With their attacks in Judea and Samaria deterred by Israeli forces, terrorist organizations transferred their operation centers to Jordan, relying on cross-border infiltrations, mortar fire and attacks on IDF outposts. IDF tactics relied heavily on prevention, as well as perusals after infiltrators. In April 1970, King Hussein was forced to establish a government based on the terrorist’s demands. Encounters between the Jordan Army and terrorists intensified, leading to “Black September”.


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The War: Lebanon and Syria


  • Following two years of relative quiet, an increase saw roughly four incidents a month, including Syrian artillery bombardments and ambushes, as well as the facilitation of terrorist activity from within its borders. The IDF response was defined “Combat Days”, which included artillery fire, tanks, IAF activity and helicopter raids. This culminated in a June 1970 armored raid on Syrian positions, which led to hundreds of Syrian casualties.


  • In 1968, terrorists operation from SW Mt. Hermon in Lebanon (“Fatah-land”) started, increasing from 8 attacks in 1969 to 200 in 1970. This area of activity was delineated between the terrorists and the Lebanese government in the 1969 Kahir Agreements, leading to terrorist mortar fire, shootings at vehicles in the north and infiltrations. To combat this threat, Israel constructed a security fence, complete with fences and mining, combined with occasional raids against the terrorists.

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Conclusion of War

  • Following Nasser's death in September 1970, his successor, Anwar Al-Sadat, ceased current hostilities with Israel, focusing instead on rebuilding the Egyptian army and planning a full-scale attack, which would arrive three years later in the form of the “Yom Kippur War”.

  • 1,424 Israeli soldiers were killed in action between June 15th, 1967 and August 8th, 1970.