Six Day War of 1967 - 3rd Arab Israeli War




"Every one of the hundred million Arabs has been living ... to see the day Israel is liquidated"

Cairo Radio’s Voice of the Arabs broadcast,
May 18th 1967.

Personal recollections from the Diaspora


"The British volunteers who played their part in the war were never officially acknowledged. We were not mercenaries. Our names were recorded somewhere. We know what we did!" [more] Jeff Bonsack

I was studying Dentistry at Manchester University. We knew war was on the horizon. The Arab students in the Student Union were posting nasty colour posters labelled in Arabic which were very provocative. [more...] David Barratt

Then, as the tension escalated suddenly, it hit me - this place was part of me and for some unaccountable reason the whole Arab world was poised to destroy it and kill 'my family'. [more...] Derek Lewis

..every synagogue in the area had fund raising events. The one that sticks in my memory more than all the others was a fund raiser at St John's Wood.[more...] Barbara

One picture that has stuck in mind is the contrast between the seemingly smart disciplined Egyptian soldiers and the seemingly laid back, almost scruffy Israeli soldiers - how deceptive appearances can be. [more...] Ruth Leveson, London

Every day, another arrow, representing another hostile Arab army, appeared on a map, pointing at Israel, until Israel was totally surrounded by 7 arrows, each representing a hostile army. [more...] Naomi Benari

On the Monday 5 June my wife had got up first and woke me with, "Frank it's started;" and I remember sitting up and sitting for some moments on the edge of the bed before getting on with the day. I had grown up in Paddington, central London between bomb sites & with ration books, so the prospects looked pretty heavy for real, even if not on the doorstep, as there were, and are, family in Israel [more...] Frank Adam

I was only 7 years old at the time, but it is etched strongly in my memory...We heard how children in Israel were having to do the jobs of the grown-ups, like running the Post Office, as the adults were all needed for the war. [more...] Jonathan

I remember being a school-girl at the time and our head teacher in Liverpool telling the morning assembly that they should pray for Israel 'which is about to be destroyed'.[more...] Dr Irene Lancaster

"...Edward Heath threatened Israel with an arms embargo. It seemed as if Israel was in the most serious trouble and then in that final weekend we saw pictures of Israeli troops on rest and recreation on Tel Aviv beaches we felt as if all were lost... [more] - David Pelta

"As an American teenager, I recall that warm sunny May as a time of contrast between the glories of the season and the ever blacker news exploding in the headlines." [more] Helen Schary Motro


"Total chaos reigned at Rex House on Monday morning June 5th - the start of the 6 Day War." [more...] Celia Cohen

"Phones didn’t stop ringing, people rushed from office to office, the telex machines were working non-stop and meetings were constantly being called to keep all those who dealt with news up to date...[more...] Sybil Greenstein, who, in 1967 worked in the Jewish Chronicle Editorial Department

"...I had witnessed something in those days and weeks that didn't make sense in the rest of my world. It has nothing to do with politics or war or even prayer. It had to do with Jewish identity..." [more] Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks

"I was put on the desk for sorting out the hundreds of volunteers who wanted to go to Israel to fight what we all thought was the existential battle. Youngsters from all backgrounds poured into the building." [more...]- Zelda

"The leading BBC story spoke of jubilation in the Arab world now that their armies had finally entered Israel and were liberating it. The Egyptian army had marched from Gaza and reached Tel Aviv, Haifa had been heavily bombed and was next to fall. All at once the Israeli children in the classroom burst into tears which set off the wailing and crying of the other children. Our teacher was doing her best to comfort the class but was clearly outside of her depth in such a situation...." [more...] Michael Cooke, who was 14 years old when the war broke out.

"...we both faced "Captain Hosni" who started his introduction with a reddening slap across our faces. In my case that act of kindness ejected my glasses off my face which came tumbling down shattered to my feet. I bend down to pick them up, to his snickering and his voice saying that he really "meant was to break them into pieces", so I handed the glasses back to him and he completely mangled them and handed the glasses back to me...' [more] - Israel Bonan, a Jewish student born and living in Egypt during the 1967 events

"My barmitzvah celebration was due to take place the weekend after the war could we celebrate when Jews were dying in Israel?" [more] - Steven Linden

A former taxi-driver remembers...Stephen Salt

I remember as a child at chedar at Harley Grove Synagogue in Bow East London going from house to house looking for mezuzahs and asking for donations to help the war effort. [more...] Diana Miller

"...reams of paper were pouring out of the teleprinter: paragraph after paragraph each headed in bold capital letters "WAR WAR"." [more...] - Eric Harris

Rabbi Shmuel Jakobovits remembers...

Sidney Assor remembers...


Anyone who was there that year will know what an amazing time it was to be in Israel. Everything opened up. There we were in Jerusalem. Arabs were coming in but nobody was afraid and nobody was the enemy. They would stand and watch the traffic lights! [more...] Lady Elaine Sacks, wife of Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

...then the one with the British accent stood up and said quite formally, "We invite you to lead a group of civilian volunteers to work in Sinai to clear out damaged and abandoned military equipment. Are you interested?" [more...] - Michael Zimmerman

We all had stickers "We Stand By Israel" to put in our windows and in our cars, and lots of people from my school stuck them on their jackets and schoolbags. [more...] Ilana Rosen

Forty years have passed since I took my backpack and Helen Shapiro backcombed ten-inch high mop on board an El Al plane, having volunteered to do whatever to help Israel during a time of need. Of course I took my favorite Teddy Bear with me for support. The fact that I landed in Israel on the seventh day of the Six-Day-War did not lessen my fear of coming to some physical harm – in fact I remember being so scared that I was cracking jokes all the time to hide it. [full article...] Lydia Aisenberg

We walked through to the old city of Jerusalem, over piles of rubble and with the Mandelbaum gate lying across the road. And would you believe that we hitched a lift into Gaza, where my friend Sue and I were almost sold for four camels each! [more...]- Helen Reisman

I spent 4 months that time, working on kibbutzim and in an army reservist camp. The Israelis were wonderful and so grateful for our presence. I imagine it must have been like Londoners during the Blitz. [more...]- Susie Hirschfield (Mexico)

One of my lasting memories was people commenting "You did well" - just as though I was personally responsible for Israel's victory! [more...] Shirley, Westcliff-on-Sea

I am from Lithuania - I have very vivid memories of the the Soviet press initially celebrating Israel's "defeat", quieting down at a later stage and then screaming for ceasefire. [more...] Chava, Israel