Battle of Emek Dotan
Battle of Emek Dotan Yad LaShiryon Latrun

For the first time in almost 20 years, residents of Tel Dotan in Samaria (Shomron) and former soldiers who fought to liberate the area met to hold a memorial for the battles of 1967. The fighting in Tel Dotan was the opening battle between Israel and Jordan in a conflict that led to the liberation of Judea and Samaria.

Decorated war hero Yossi Schein was a commander in the battle. In an interview with Arutz Sheva he recalled his wartime experiences – including the simple case of mistaken identity that changed the course of the war.

Schein and his troops began moving toward Tel Dotan on June 5, 1967. At the time, Israel was not planning to fight Jordan. However, a short time later the troops were given the order to stop Jordanian fire on Ramat David, and the Jordanian front was opened.

“Evening fell, and we got the order to move toward Emek Dotan… to seize the place that would later be the Kabatya junction,” Schein said. “We moved forward in three APCs and four jeeps. At first there was a tank unit with us, but they could not get through Kfar Dan because the roads were too narrow, so the rest was done without tanks.”

“At 12 at night on the fifth of June we reached Kabatya junction. We came from the direction of Shechem and not from the direction of Jenin, and because we came from that direction the Jordan tank ambush that was there did not think that we were the enemy. We went in quietly without fighting,” Schein said.

“We gathered to search and get organized and saw that we were next to a tank… I said we need to figure out whose tank it is. We asked, ‘who is it,’ and he replied in Arabic ‘who is it?’ Those were the last words he said,” he continued.

As they shot the Jordanian tank commander, fighting broke out. The Jordanian troops were surprised and were quickly defeated. The IDF troops used their APCs to carry out their wounded.

The next day, the scene repeated itself – but this time, mistaken identity helped the IDF take the city of Jenin with little fighting. “They thought we were Jordanian soldiers and even gave us water. That’s why there was no serious battle in Jenin. We took over Jenin.”

The next night Jordanian troops realized they were facing off against Israelis, and a serious tank battle broke out, Schein said.