web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Six-Day War’s Unresolved Legacy

Front-Page-060112

After the war, for security purposes, the ruling Labor government scattered small agricultural settlements and military outposts on the Golan Heights and in the Jordan Valley. Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon proposed additional settlements to preserve Me’arat HaMachpelah and Rachel’s Tomb “within the boundaries of the state of Israel.” But the future of Judea and Samaria remained unresolved. That summer the Arab states declared at Khartoum: “No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel.”

It took the devastating shock of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the election of Menachem Begin as prime minister four years later to galvanize the settlement movement. After thirty years in the political wilderness, Begin faced exultant supporters on election night wearing a yarmulke and reciting psalms. Asked to form a new government he went to pray at the Western Wall. For the first time Israel had a prime minister who framed his politics within the language and symbols of Judaism.

But Begin’s decision to dismantle Sinai settlements as part of the peace treaty with Egypt, and his assurance of autonomy for West Bank Palestinians, galvanized religious Zionist settlers who sensed that their opportunity might be slipping away. “No government,” declared Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the founding father of the restored Hebron community, “has the authority or right to say that a Jew cannot live in all of the parts of the Land of Israel.”

Led by Gush Emunim, the “bloc of the faithful,” and supported by Minister of Agriculture Ariel Sharon, settlements began to sprout in Judea and Samaria. A generation of religious Zionists, inspired by the opportunity presented by the Six-Day War to return to the ancient homeland, became the impassioned – and widely despised – settlers who would transform the geography and politics of Israel.

* * * * *

Within a decade the surge of religious enthusiasm following the Six-Day War led to the emergence of a new Israel in which right-wing politicians and national religious groups ascended to political power and, for the first time, achieved a measure of Zionist legitimacy. The “bourgeois and hedonistic metropolis” of Tel Aviv, lamented literary scholar Dan Miron, had yielded to “the stronghold of nationalism and ultra-Orthodoxy” in Jerusalem.

To Israelis on the political left, an enlightened secular nation had been overwhelmed by religious zealotry, Khomeinism, and irrationality. From the rule of law under Supreme Court justices and Labor politicians Israel became a nation ruled by the “Messianic religious fanaticism” of rabbis and settlers who gave the Jewish state a bad name in Western cultural and political precincts. By 1984 (an appropriate literary year for such dire conclusions), there were warnings on the left of Israel being overtaken by “Dark Medieval Fascism.”

By now more than 300,000 Israelis live in Judea and Samaria. Most, however, are not the fierce religious Zionists who are endlessly castigated for illegally occupying “Palestinian” land. Many residents simply wanted new homes at affordable prices within an easy commute to Tel Aviv. The two largest settlements, abutting Jerusalem, are haredi enclaves whose residents sought escape for their families from inner-city congestion.

But they are all linked together as the despised “Jewish settlers” whom the world, joined by Israeli media, academic and literary luminaries, love to hate – for nothing more than their determination to build homes in the biblical Land of Israel.

Little attention is paid, in Israel or elsewhere, to the settlement rights guaranteed to Jews by international agreements spreading across forty-five years. The League of Nations Mandate of 1922 guaranteed to Jews “close settlement” west of the Jordan River. This was affirmed in Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, drafted in 1945 by Jewish representatives (and known as the “Palestine clause”). It protected the rights of “any peoples” and “the terms of existing international instruments” – an implicit reference to the Mandate guarantees.

UN Resolution 242, enacted after the Six-Day War, called only for the return of “territories,” not “the territories” or “all the territories” that Israel gained from Arab aggression – and then only upon “the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Testifying before the British Peel Commission in 1937, David Ben-Gurion had been asked to identify the source of the Jewish claim to Palestine. He responded succinctly: “The Bible is our mandate.”

About the Author: Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy,” to be published next month by Quid Pro Books.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “The Six-Day War’s Unresolved Legacy”

  1. MaAi Ai says:

    for me, the euphoria has not dissipated. I'm still amazed, for the past, and for the future of Israel.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Donald Trump announces he is running for the Republican party presidential nomination.
Trump Ranks No. 2 GOP Candidate in Nationwide Poll
Latest Indepth Stories

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

Donald Trump

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Rather than asserting Jewish rights on Temple Mount or protecting Jewish lives Israel chooses soccer

Nothing in the NEW Paris Proposal differs much from what was offered by Olmert and rejected by Abbas

No longer will delegitimization efforts go unchallenged. That’s a silence we will continue to break.

Increasingly, Sweden is becoming a country where anti-Semitism & supporting terrorism is acceptable.

Rabbi Pfeffer points out that at his site, there are no one-line answers. “We want to show the people we’re interested in their questions,” he says.

The problem with US treatment of Israel did not start with Obama but with birth of Jewish State

The pathetic failure of the Marianne to reach Gaza is the best thing that has happened to Israel since Hamas mis-fired a rocket on its own civilians.

Wonder why Israel has the world’s most insane rules of engagement imposed on its military? Read on..

Think political Islam’s a problem now just wait until an Islamist nuclear umbrella covers the region

More Articles from Jerold S. Auerbach
Knesset

For nearly sixty-five years national self-definition has been the skeleton in the closet of Israeli politics and culture.

Front-Page-081514

Times reporter Anne Barnard reported (7/15) that Israel was to blame (so her Palestinian sources asserted) for its continued “occupation” of Gaza – which, Barnard failed to note, ended nearly a decade ago.

During much of the 20th century, elite American colleges and universities carefully policed their admission gates to restrict the entry of Jews. Like its Big Brothers – Harvard, Yale and Princeton – Wellesley College, where I taught history between 1971 and 2010, designed admission policy to perpetuate a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite.

Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers (Harper) explores the lives of seven Israeli paratroopers in the Six-Day War who, his subtitle suggests, “Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation.” It offers a fascinating variation on the theme of Israel at a fateful crossroads, in search of itself, following the wondrously unifying moment at the Western Wall in June 1967 when Jewish national sovereignty in Jerusalem was restored for the first time in nineteen centuries.

In death as in life, Menachem Begin remained who he had always been: a proud yet humble Jew.

Eighty years ago, in January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Barely a month later Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated president of the United States. For the next twelve years, until their deaths eighteen days apart in April 1945, they personified the horrors of dictatorship and the blessings of democracy.

One of my searing early memories from Israel is a visit nearly four decades ago to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the Beit Lohamei Hagetaot kibbutz. The world’s first Holocaust museum, it was built soon after the Independence War by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Nearly sixty-five years ago Israel declared its independence and won the war that secured a Jewish state. But its narrow and permeable postwar armistice lines permitted incessant cross-border terrorist raids. For Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the mere existence of a Jewish state remained an unbearable intrusion into the Arab Middle East. As Egyptian President Nasser declared, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-six-day-wars-unresolved-legacy/2012/05/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: