Memories of the build-up to the Six-Day War are indelibly
imprinted in my mind and in my heart. I was in London at the time, and will
never forget the growing tension, as every day the TV reported the growing
animosity and aggressive threats of Israel's neighbours to "push the
Jews into the sea", the moving of their troops nearer Israel's borders,
and then Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Tiran. When the UK Foreign Secretary,
Douglas Home, was asked on TV whether the UK would go to Israel's aid, in
view of an earlier undertaking to do so, he replied with his stiff upper
lip that it would not, adding: "We do not have friends, we
Every day, another arrow, representing another hostile Arab army, appeared on a map, pointing at Israel, until Israel was totally surrounded by 7 arrows, each representing a hostile army. I felt there was no hope for Israel.
And then after the euphoric news of Israel's seemingly miraculous victory, I went on a demo in Hyde Park, where we joined Israel in offering land-for-peace. No one wanted to hang on to Judea, Samaria or Gaza, and we were sure the offer would be accepted. How wrong we were!
Shortly afterwards, I went on a trip in Israel to the Golan Heights, where the guide explained to us why the old border was called the "green line": because on Israel's side, everything was green and cultivated, whereas the Syrians had used the more fertile land on their side to build bunkers and military installations from which they had constantly and continuously bombarded the Israeli kibbutzim below
Forty years ago, the UK media was fair and honest, and well understood the motives of the Arabs and the issues involved.
- Naomi BenariBACK to Diaspora Recollections