JERUSALEM, Israel -- Forty-six years ago Wednesday, Israeli pilots carried out a preemptive strike on the Egyptian Air Force, effectively grounding the entire fleet.
For the next six days, the Jewish state would fight a fierce war against Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, which joined two days into what became known as the Six-Day War.
When the fighting ended on June 10, 1967, Israelis had much to be thankful for.
After 2,000 years, Jerusalem was reunited under Jewish sovereignty, along with the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria -- called the West Bank under Jordanian occupation, a label that persists today.
No longer would Jews be denied access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City. No longer would Syrian snipers target Israeli farmers in the Hula Valley.
Israel also captured the Sinai Peninsula, but despite investing heavily in its development for more than a decade, ceded the peninsula within the framework of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
The modern nation-state had shown the world it could and would defend its right to exist.
More wars would be fought and won over the next 46 years. Yet today, neighboring Arab countries -- and much of the world for that matter -- harbor seemingly unending resentment against the Jewish homeland.
For many, Zionism has become a dirty word. Israeli towns and cities outside the 1948 armistice lines, along with Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, are called "settlements," as if they were some kind of illegal, transient thing instead of home to 350,000 Jewish residents.
Late last month, Jordan announced it would exclude Israel from its upcoming military drill whose purpose is "to increase the level of coordination among civil, military and humanitarian organizations" as well as boost "cooperation among the participating states…," The Jordan Times reported.
According to Amman, some 15,000 soldiers from "friendly countries," including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, will take part in "Eager Lion 2013."
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson told CBN News Israel wasn't meant to participate in this exercise. The real question, he said, is why Jordan felt the need to emphasize Israel's exclusion.
"Beyond the rumors, there is security cooperation between the two parties on various issues," Hirschson said. "We were never meant to be part of this drill. We weren't going to be from the beginning."
Nonetheless, many of these "friendly" countries would see Israel return to the pre-1967 borders (1948 armistice lines), which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeled "indefensible," and Tourism Minister Uzi Landau called "Auschwitz borders," a concept put forth by the late Abba Eban.
"Before 1967, they [Palestinian Arabs] didn't have Katyusha rockets and missiles to the extent owned today by Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, which constitute a strategic threat to Israel," Landau said in a recent interview.
Meanwhile, Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability as it continues to arm, train and fund Islamist groups in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, while vowing to wipe Israel off the map.
While no one wants peace more than Israelis, history has shown that has never come easily.