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For Israel's Security


The Era of Fear - Before the Six Day War

In the years preceding the Six Day War, when the “Green Line” was still treated as the armistice line with Jordan, Israelis lived with constant trauma. The sentiment of the Israeli public at that time, after 19 years of terror, first by the Fedayeen and than by the PLO, founded in 1964, was one in which too many people had lost their sense of security and, during May 1967, feared defeat. With the situation worsening and a growing economic recession at hand, for the first time since the War of Independence, emigration actually eclipsed Aliya – immigration to Israel. The common reason for the problems was fear, as the enemy stood in such close proximity.

The regular forces of the Arab armies were a mere stone’s throw from Israel’s major population centers. The armed forces of Jordan’s King Hussein and of Iraq were deployed throughout Judea and Samaria. At its slenderest, the armistice line lay just 9 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, with the Israel's fourth largest city of Netanya in between. The urban cities surrounding Tel Aviv lay just a few miles away from enemy territory. The situation was accurately represented by Abba Eban, the then Labor Government’s Foreign Minister, who said in a November 1969 interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel: “The June [1967] map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz”. For Israel, these borders pose a constant existential threat.

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