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

On Monday 5th June 1967 I was a young shipbroker working in the City of London.newly elected to the Baltic Exchange (Shipping equivalent of the Stock Exchange). I had watched developments in the Middle East with mounting concern ever since the U.N. had been expelled from Sinai.

On that morning I had not been in the office long when a colleague said they heard fighting had broken out. In those days there was not the instant access to news which we have today; consequently it was not so simple to find out what was happening.

I called a friend who worked for the Jewish Chronicle who said she had heard Jerusalem had been shelled by the Jordanians.

At around 11 am I went downstairs to the "floor" of the exchange. In one corner was a teleprinter which at regular intervals would print out the news and stock market prices from Exchange Telegraph.

On this occasion reams of paper were pouring out of it! Paragraph after paragraph each headed in bold capital letters "WAR WAR". It was full of vague unsubstantiated news. I remember reading a report attributed to Moshe Dayan saying that Israeli aircraft had moved to meet incoming Egyptian aircraft.

Business that day had almost come to a standstill with markets waiting to see the effects of the Middle East War (particularly on oil) and for me, the remainder of the working day I was in something of a daze running downstairs every half-hour from my office to the "floor" to read the latest printouts none of which gave me any comfort.

At the age of 21 it was probably the first time in my life I had known real fear.

'Panorama' was broadcast at 8pm that evening and halfway through the programme there was a report from Michael Elkins, BBC correspondent in Jerusalem and I will never forget his words, "The IDF has won a striking victory. Everything that was achieved in 1956 campaign has been surpassed" He then went on to enumerate how the Israeli air force had destroyed the combined Arab Air Forces.

The relief at home was truly emotional.

The rest of the week was filled with watching/reading the news attending solidarity meetings in the shul and of course fund raising meetings.

For Jewish people of my generation (I was 21 at the time) the Six Day War was a turning point. Of course we supported Israel before but things were never the same again as we stood looking into the abyss at the possible destruction of Israel.

- Eric Harris, Westcliff-on-Sea

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