Rabin’s tenure as IDF Chief of Staff was marked by the rapid military growth of Arab states and their growing arsenal of Soviet weapons. His primary task was to prepare the IDF for the possibility of a total war. He engaged in equipping the IDF with innovative American weapons and technologies and training for coordinated, multi-force military action.At the same time, he worked diligently in preparing operational plans that would serve the IDF whenever and wherever necessary. All these withstood the challenge faced by the IDF in the days and months preceding its rapid and unprecedented victory during the Six-Day War.

One of the flash points was found in the Galilee, following attempts by Lebanon and Syria to divert the headwaters of the Jordan River flowing through Israeli territory. Rabin opposed any initiative that included occupying Syrian territory. He directed the IDF’s response toward disabling the mechanical equipment employed by the Syrians and their allies to divert the water.

Another campaign that Rabin was required to wage war against the Fatah, the military arm of the PLO, which was created in 1964. Since Fatah had established its bases in Syria and it was from there that the terrorists infiltrated for attacks in Israel, Rabin felt fully justified in acting against the Syrians. Rabin’s remarks in a press interview against the Syrian regime provoked a harsh response. They were later perceived as a factor that accelerated the preparations for war in Israel. In the face of attacks against the Israeli civilian population, Rabin was reluctant to order a response against the enemy’s civilian infrastructures. Nevertheless, in November 1966, he approved a reprisal against the Jordanian village of Samu’a, during which many Jordanians, soldiers, and civilians were killed.

At the end of 1966, after a three-year term as Chief of Staff, the Prime Minister decided to extend Rabin’s tenure another year.