Six Day War of 1967 - 3rd Arab Israeli War

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"Every one of the hundred million Arabs has been living ... to see the day Israel is liquidated"

Cairo Radio’s Voice of the Arabs broadcast, May 18th 1967.

Personal recollections from the Diaspora

As I recall I was in my mid teens in 1967 and it seemed to me at that time inconceivable that anybody could be Jewish and not zionistic. We lived in Ilford and just about everyone of my age belonged to one of the zionist groups, whether it was the religious Bnei Akiva or left wing Hanoa Hatzioni or just middle of the road Habonim.

I recall the two weeks before the war as some of the most frightening days: the Straits of Tiran were closed; Nasser asked the troops to leave Sinai and U Thant immediately complied; General De Gaul warned Israel not to react and Edward Heath threatened Israel with an arms embargo. It seemed as if Israel was in the most serious trouble and then in that final weekend we saw pictures of Israeli troops on rest and recreation on Tel Aviv beaches we felt as if all were lost. Little did we realise how successful this disinformation was.

In those days the news was only available half hourly on the light programme and on the Monday morning we listened intently as the BBC correspondent Michael Elkins delivered his reports from about midday on the success of the Israeli air force and the BBC 1 p.m. news seemed to be denying the veracity of its own correspondents in Israel and saying how it seemed so unlikely that Israel could have destroyed the Egyptian air force and there were reports of the bombing of Tel Aviv. These contradictory reports went on all day and it was not until the Tuesday that things seemed to change and the BBC started to believe its own correspondents.

By the Wednesday the emotion was enormous as we recall the pictures of Moshe Dyan with his eye patch leading the troops to the Kotel [Western Wall], and by the Friday remember the United Nations trying to impose a cease fire on Israel while it was trying to capture the Golan.

In those days we all felt an enormous pride at Israel's achievement and there were great celebrations and I particularly recall the singing of 'Yerushalayim Shel Zahav ( Jerusalem the Golden) [1] and Gadol Halila in wish we sang of Israel from Dan to Sharm el Sheik. Jews the world over were proud and everyone wanted to identify with Israel - how sad that that feeling has been lost.

- David Pelta

[1] "Jerusalem the Golden" - English translation / Full background information

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