Six Days War: Israeli View

Figure 1.--Many Israelis saw the Six Days War as a miraculous deliverance rather like the Biblican Red Sea destruction of Pharoah's Egyptian Army. Given the size of the Arab armies and the modern Soviet military equipment, in a way it was. The IDF set up exhibition points all over Israel some of the huge quanity of captured Soviet military equipment.

Most Isrelis for good reason saw the Six Day War as a just war that the Arabs forced them to fight. It has a hallowed place in the Isreali history. Israel captured the whole of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, including the Old City with its most holy site, the Temple Mount that is revered by both Jews and Muslims. Jerusalem has been the focus of longing for Diaspora Jews who were first forced by the Babylonians from their land and the Temple of their God. The well-known lament of the Babylonian Jews who wept “by the rivers of Babylon” and declared, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.” [Psalm 137] Since the Roman War and Diapora (1st century AD), Jews have dreamed of returing to Jerusalem. The Seder traditionally ends the appeal, “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Finally this has come to fruition. The Jordanians had denied Israelis access to the Wailing Wall--the remains of Solomon's Great Temple. It was in many ways the final achievement of the dreamns of countless Jews over two millennia of history. We see celebration throughout Israel after the War. The military set up exhibitions showing off the vast array of mostly Soviet weaponry captured from the Egyptians. It seemed a modern miracle give the extent to which the Soviets had provided the much larger Arab armies modern weaponry. The United States at the time was not providing military assistance to Israel. Tiny Israel was harf pressed to finance a creditable military. A few left-wing Isreali authors have challened this view of the War. We note one such author who maintains that Israel did not need to fight the War. [Segev] The author provides a perceptive assessment of Israel at the time. He does not provide, however, any information to prove his central thesis that the war could have been avoided give aggressive Arab actions, especially the series of steps toward war taken by Egyoptian President Nassar. He certainly does not show that the Soviets had not provided the Arabs with a massive arsenal of modern weapons, because they clearly did. An arsenal a small country like Israel could not match as the United States at the time was not prividing military assistance. He does not provide any evidence that Arab leaders and public did not want a military sollution. They clearly did. It is undeniable through the public statements of Arab leaders and the enthusiatic way they were received by the Arab public that there was a desire for war. Nor does he provide any evidence of Arab leaders prepared to negotiate with Israel. They clearly did not want to negotiate, they wanted a military victory. An interesting point to bear in mind here is that the Isreali left is free to pursue such views in a democratic society. One has to ask, where is the left in the Arab world? Where is the desire for peace and toleration? What book comparable to the Segev book has been published in an Arab country? And why is there not a similar examination of Arab society and the continued Arab-Muslim persuit of military sollutions? And it is important To note that an Arab commentator taking the Israeli side would be putting his life in danger.


Segev, Tom. 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East (Metropolitan, 2007), 673p. Segev is a columinist for the left-wing Isreali newspaper Ha'aretz.


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Created: 3:09 AM 4/29/2018
Last updated: 3:09 AM 4/29/2018