May 26, 2017
50 Years after the Six-Day War, We Shouldn’t Lament Israel’s Power to Protect Itself – Jonathan Miller (Alabama Media Group)
- In May 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, who had joined in a military alliance with Syrian President Hafez el Assad, daily promised to “drive Israel into the sea.” Jews around the world were anxious beyond belief. It was scant more than twenty years since the liberation of the death camps in Europe and the odds were overwhelming that the next cataclysm against our people was soon to begin. In a stunning six-day victory, Israel defeated the combined Arab armies, reunited Jerusalem, took the Golan Heights and made its way to the Suez Canal.
- It is difficult for Israel to extricate itself from the obligation of having to send its young people to the territories in uniform to oversee other people’s lives. Israel uprooted 8,000 long-time inhabitants of Gaza to make the territory Jew-free with the hope that without an occupation Gaza could transform itself into a Singapore. We know from history that this was a terrible mistake which has exacted an enormous cost on Palestinians and Israelis in terms of suffering, treasure and death.
- Some opinion-makers have opined that the Six-Day War was a catastrophe. I cannot agree. It is far better that Israel won the war decisively than were it to have lost the war entirely. It is not hard to imagine the nature of the bloodbath that would have occurred on the streets of an Arab-occupied Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
- Israel’s adversaries refuse to accept its existence and the existence of Jews living in the Land of Israel. That is the root of the problem, going back more than a hundred years. Once that is solved, everything else will fall into place.
- To be honest, there is something crazy about lamenting the fact that we Jews have the power to protect ourselves and that we will no longer be subject to the bullies and murderers who have tormented us. I would rather live with the moral struggle of the past 50 years than die the good death of a martyr to another round of anti-Jewish hatred and violence.
Jonathan Miller is a rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, Alabama.