During last night's discussion among neighbors about the 1967 Six Days War, read 60+ is Fun," Getting Together Talking About Wars, we got into some very interesting topics. A couple of the women stated that the 1973 Yom Kippur War was a continuation/conclusion of the 1967 Six Days War, and there were also discussion and questions about the post-1967 aliyah boom from the more affluent Jewish communities.
About half the women in our group were raised in Israel in kibbutzim and cities. The other half came from different countries, France, the United States and Canada. Some of us are already retired, while others still work. At least half of us were in high school in 1967, while the youngest was in the lower grades of elementary school I'm the eldest, but not by much.
We talked about the differences between the "before and after" 1967 Six Days War Israel, both Israel itself and how it was perceived abroad. The miraculous 1967 war was a watershed event for sure. Nothing was the same afterwards. Before the war, Israel was weak, poor and with a draining population. The standing joke was to request that "the last one to leave should turn off the lights in Lod* Airport."
During the tense and frightening time, those weeks leading up to the Six Days War, not a single solitary foreign country or international body came to Israel's defense in any way. They were all lined up either supporting Egypt's Nasser, or just silently watching and waiting to witness the final collapse, destruction of the State of Israel. That is what intelligent and knowledgeable people expected to happen.
Not a single military expert in the world expected/predicted Israel's great victory or even Israel's survival if war was really to breakout between Israel and her Arab neighbors.
When the "dust settled," there was collective shock all over the world, including the Government of the State of Israel. It was so clear that the dynamics of the war were conducted by Gd Almighty.
Just as we were about to get up to leave, I found myself summarizing that period of time, the first two decades of the State of Israel. I realized that the 1967 Six Days War was really the conclusion of Israel's 1948 War for Independence. During those twenty years, Israeli leaders had discouraged western Jews from coming here and begged for their money instead. There was serious insecurity, both in terms of the fear that the country with its crazy zigzagging borders couldn't defend itself and an emotional insecurity that only Jews who had no other choice should risk living here.
Pre-1967 Israel was like a helpless baby, unable to walk, but after the war, we were up on our feet, straight, tall, strong and proud. Only then were we ready to cheerfully welcome, absorb and invite all Jews, even from the wealthiest countries to make aliyah, live in Israel.
|Salute to Israel Parade, New York, 1970|
NCSY Dance Group
That's me holding the flag. (photographer unknown)