On a number of occasions when I have sat in on something loosely called a “peace seminar”, almost without exception, Israel’s victory over its sworn enemies in the 67′ war –referred to by many as the Six Day War– is held as being the pivotal moment when Israel ceased from being the hapless victim, becoming instead the overpowering aggressor. Ever since the end of that war, the latter has become synonymous with the modern Jewish state of Israel.
“The biggest myth going is that somehow there was not a real and immediate Arab threat, that somehow Israel could have negotiated itself outside the crisis of 1967, and that it wasn’t facing an existential threat, or facing any threat at all,” said Oren, who is a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at Jerusalem’s Shalem Center and author of Six Days of War: June 1967. He noted that this was the premise of Tom Segev’s book, 1967: Israel, the War and the Year That Transformed the Middle East. “What’s remarkable is that all the people alleging this – not one of them is working from Arabic sources. It’s quite extraordinary when you think about it. It’s almost as if Israel were living in a universe by itself. It’s a deeply solipsistic approach to Middle East history.”