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Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2008, 11:53 AM
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The Six-Day War was run by a committee. A highly classified committee, whose transcripts have never been seen for 50 years. Until now: here they are.

Israel has no commander-in-chief. The military is subordinate to the cabinet, where each minister, prime minister included, has one vote. Often the cabinet sets up a smaller committee called the security cabinet (SC), to which it delegates supervising and commanding the military. Facing exceptional decisions, the prime minister may declare that the entire cabinet is the SC. This ensures secrecy, because leaking information from the SC has serious penalties. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol often reminded his colleagues that the very fact that they had met was itself a state secret.

The security cabinet of 1967 appears in these never-published transcripts as a group of serious, professional, and responsible decision-makers. While the ministers brought their worldviews to the table, they often didnít vote on party lines, often did listen to one another, and generally managed to make decisions, albeit slowly and through compromises. These characteristics were not helpful in the maelstrom of the Six-Day War, when the cabinet receded in the face of its two most enigmatic members: Levi Eshkol, who can be read either as a weak figure or a master manipulator; and Moshe Dayan, who comes across as an arrogant but talented prima donna.

The SC met irregularly 36 times between January and July 1967. Three meetings took place in the final 24 hours of the war, then three meetings in two days about what to do with the new territories. There were five meetings in January, but only one in March. The ministers, being politicians, tended toward wordiness; the 935 pages of the transcripts reflect some 100 hours of talk.

The very point of their committee was to manage Israelís military challenges. Yet none of the ministers saw the approaching war until it was almost upon them; not a single one of them foresaw its outcome. Between January and mid-May 1967, the meetings focused on Syria. Between May 15 and June 4, the SC strove to comprehend the significance of unfolding events in Egypt. During the six days of June 5-10 it tried to remain in control of events, with only middling success. On June 11, 1967, having had exactly no time at all to prepare, they had to decide what Israel should do with its astonishing new borders. After the war, there were intense discussions about what it all meant, which will be covered in Part II of this essay. In spite of fundamental differences of perspective, ideology, and character, the ministers listened to each other and followed developments with minds open enough that outcomes of deliberations were not foretold.

There were two hawks: Yisrael Galili and Yigal Allon. The then-56-year-old Galili is probably the most powerful Israeli politician youíve never heard of; indeed, few Israelis in 2017 remember him. A former leader of the Haganah, he had scant patience for restraint when faced with Syrian fire at Israeli farmers along the border:


Maybe the dem leaders should stop making it so easy.

Supporting GATT, NAFTA and the TPP isn't a very good way to show that you care about working people.

Trump exploited this every chance he could, and it worked.

Note to jury: the soul of the Democratic party is being destroyed by the amorality of free trade, if this earns me a hide so be it.
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