Sitting in front of my grandparents’ black and white television set watching Abba Eban’s unforgettable speech before the United Nations General Assembly is certainly one of my most distinctive memories of the Six-Day War.
Just 10 years old and not able to fully comprehend the complexities of the war and Israel’s tenuous position, I nevertheless experienced the fear that turned to relief and then to pride that engulfed my family and the rest of American Jewry.
Shortly after the war, my grandmother managed to secure the sheet music for Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, Jerusalem of Gold. She played it often and it quickly became one of my favorite songs. Her copy is still in her piano bench, which now resides in our living room.
After the Six-Day War, Israel’s reality and future appeared more assured. Contemporary Jewish music was now influenced by Israeli musicians and composers, Hebrew was pronounced ‘Israeli style’ in temple, teens took trips to Israel, and we learned to eat falafel and to rally on behalf of the Jewish state.
The truth is, just about everything Jewish seemed different after June 1967.
And, so, 50 years later, after far too many wars, bombs, deaths, and discord, alongside Israel’s tremendous growth with its countless medical, technological, cultural, culinary, and environmental contributions to the world, we dedicate a few pages to looking back, to remembering, and to considering the small state’s future.
In addition to the articles that provide background and historical details about those six days and what led up to them, we asked several locals to share their memories and thoughts. Their brief pieces are interesting and at times, emotional.
For those too young to recall the Six-Day War, we hope these pages offer another perspective, and for those who lived through it, we hope these articles evoke positive memories.
Without a doubt, it was a war that changed the course of history and life in one particular Middle Eastern neighborhood.
– Terri Denison, Editor