Fifty years after the Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, Israel’s state archives released the government protocols and stenographic records from the war. These choice quotations from the Ministerial Committee on National Security and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee reveal the greatness of that moment but raise questions still with us today || Itamar Brenner

War Talk

  • As long as the Egyptians are in Sinai and not moving, there’s no question of war. I’m not sure any power can demand that they leave Sinai (Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, May 17, 1967)
  • In France and the United States, they’re constantly telling us not to touch Lebanon and Jordan and generally urging restraint (Prime Minister Levi Eshkol,
    May 17, 1967)
  • The moderate Arab states in particular are pursuing a nefarious mission. Jordan says to Egypt, “If you’ve already stationed an army across from Israel, why don’t you fight?” We have acted, through appropriate channels, to lessen this kind of provocation (Foreign Minister Abba Eban,
    May 21, 1967)
Paratrooper with antitank projectile by the newly liberated Western WallCourtesy of the IDF Archive in the Ministry of Defense

Paratrooper with antitank projectile by the newly liberated Western Wall

  • The General Staff hasn’t received a single explanation as to what we’re waiting for. I understand that we’re waiting for something. If so, let the cat out of the bag! (General Moshe Peled,
    June 2, 1967)
  • I’ve come to the conclusion that the entire population will stay there, and even then I’d rather it be under our own supervision, not that of a foreign power (Labor Minister Yigal Allon, June 6, 1967)
  • In the end, the difference between us and the Arabs when it comes to security is this […] they don’t tell the truth, whitewashing a bit and embellishing somewhat […] and I bless the fact that we’re not like that (Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, August 24, 1967)
  • Once we’re in the Old City, it might be largely ceremonial, but to me it’s of profound importance that immediately – if physically possible from a military point of view – the prime minister, his cabinet, and both chief rabbis go to the Western Wall and recite the Sheheheyanu blessing for new possessions and the psalm “When the Lord returns the captivity of Zion” [Psalm 126] (Minister without Portfolio Menahem Begin, June 6, 1967)

War Gallery

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