The initial impression is that this DVD contains a remarkable collection of archive footage covering, as its cover says, “the complete story of the wars of Israel”. After the opening title the DVD jumps straight to a timeline menu, with the first chapter “1917-1948 War of Independence” and the eighth “2005-2007 Disengagement and Second Lebanon War”. ...
There is certainly plenty of invaluable footage of all the conflicts – for there is material on the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem reviewing Nazi troops which should be required viewing for all of the opinion that it is only the position of Israel’s borders that dictate whether the surrounding Arab states are able to live harmoniously alongside her.
The changed role of news cameramen in shaping our views of these conflicts came through very clearly in this two-hour movie. The news-gatherers of the Six Day War and the War of Independence documented events very objectively. Yet, move forward to the Second Intifada and something has happened to the news footage – now it no longer attempts to be an impartial observer, but is evidently recording shots to support a specific viewpoint. The unintended subtext of the movie was how censorship can manipulate media coverage, which in turn manipulates viewers’ perceptions of these conflicts. Freedom of the media in Israel means that journalists have ‘carte blanche’ to shoot anything they wish and showcase it however they wish. Thus we saw shots of the second intifada stone-throwers, but not their adult supporters transporting carloads of rocks to the ‘arena’ for use as ammunition. And we saw the area in Jenin where the non-massacre took place – but were not shown the area in context i.e just how small an area was involved compared to the town of Jenin. [more]
A very informative documentary, with some useful additional material, in particular the "Ask the Experts" section which offers authoritative comments by several leading historians from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Running time of main movie 48 minutes. Originally broadcast on The History Channel
- Michael B. Oren. Published by OUP Inc. 198 Madison Avenue New York, New York 10016. 446pp;hbk; ISBN:0195151747
- This review originally appeared in the British Church Newspaper 13/4/07
Israel has never been at peace with its Arab Neighbours since the birth of the State in 1948, because it has been unable to obtain full recognition from any of them for its existence; being limited at best to uneasy and imminently disposable accords with Jordan and Egypt.
The Six Day War of 1967 is one of several that have occurred between Israel and its Arab neighbours since the former came into being and is under consideration this year, it being 40 years this June since it happened. [read full review here...]
- Randolph Spencer Churchill and Winston Spencer Churchill, Heinemann (1967) ASIN: B0000CNKU6
The authors are respectively the son and grandson of the late Sir Winston Churchill. Three weeks before the war Winston was sent to Israel to cover the situation for the News of the World, and remained there as a war reporter for that paper and for the Evening News. Concurrently Randolph monitored the news from the UK, following up lines of enquiry as he found them. This is an impressive little book, rich in factual detail - with masterful coverage of the events during the six days themselves. An excellent grounding in the background of the war - really warrants a reprint (hint to publishers!)
Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days That Changed the Middle East
- Donald Neff Simon & Schuster 1984
An interesting American perspective reflecting the shift in western liberal opinion, away from Israel and towards the Arab world, that occurred after the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Neff is particularly critical of the role that the Johnson government played in moving from a position of perceived neutrality, as adopted by Eisenhower, to one of outright support for Israel.
In the early 1980’s the ideological menace of Islam had still to be fully appreciated by the west and Neff, like many of his contemporaries looked naively for a political solution to the problem, not realising that the Arabs would never be a willing partner for peace.
Not the definitive account of the Six Day War as claimed at the time, this book remains nevertheless a fascinating record of how this confrontation was perceived at the time of writing.
over Dimona: The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War
- Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez (Yale University Press)
One of the great enigmas of the modern Middle East is why, 40 years ago next week, the Six-Day War took place. Neither Israel nor its Arab neighbors wanted or expected a fight in June 1967; the consensus view among historians holds that the unwanted combat resulted from a sequence of accidents.
Enter Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, a wife-husband team, to challenge the accident theory and offer a plausible explanation for the causes of the war. As suggested by the title of their book, Foxbats over Dimona: The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War (Yale University Press), they argue that it originated in a scheme by the Soviet politburo to eliminate Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona, and with it the country's aspiration to develop nuclear weapons.
The text reads like the solution to a mystery, amassing information from voluminous sources, guiding readers step-by-step through the argument, making an intuitively compelling case that must be taken seriously
... Moscow devised a complex scheme to lure the Israelis into starting a war which would end with a Soviet attack on Dimona. Militarily, the Kremlin prepared by surrounding Israel with an armada of nuclear-armed forces in both the Mediterranean and Red seas, pre-positioning materiel on land, and training troops nearby with the expectation of using them. Perhaps the most startling information in Foxbats over Dimona concerns the detailed plans for Soviet troops to attack Israeli territory, and specifically to bombard oil refineries and reservoirs, and reach out to Israeli Arabs. No less eye-opening is to learn that Soviet photo-reconnaissance MiG-25s (the "Foxbats" of the title) directly overflew the Dimona reactor in May 1967.[more]
The Seventh Day – Soldiers Talk About the Six-Day War
- Published in Penguin Books 1971
The book can speak for itself. “It has no author in the strict sense of the term. It is the record of a dialogue which sprang up, in the wake of the six day war, among the younger generation in the kibbutzim – a group of young people who were foremost in the fighting..”. The most striking features of the book are is its honesty and the way in which moments in time are captured and held by those who experienced those moments.
It is a book that is full of hope because of that honesty. But perhaps somehow, the honesty of those moments did not colour the future political landscape.
“There was a sort of inspiration, a renaissance….there is something positive within us all, within all these people, throughout the whole nation.
The big problem is one of education. How – despite the fact that from our point of view this was a just war – are we going to avoid turning into militarists ? How are we going to retain respect for human life ? This is the contradiction, this is the paradox with the whole business. What we’ve got to avoid is cheapening life and becoming conquerors. We mustn’t become expansionists at the expense of other people, we mustn’t become Arab haters”.
I would like to know what happened to the young soldiers who had such profound thoughts.
- Lewis Herlitz
[Note this book is no longer in print - you should be able to obtain a copy from eBay - as we did!]