Though few people grasped it at the time, the Six-Day War put the young state of Israel on an entirely new trajectory. Some see the war’s outcome as a historic triumph and almost messianic return of the Jews to their ancestral lands. Others, of course, view it as the start of a downward spiral that led to internal political fragmentation and an oppressive occupation. For proponents of both positions, and everyone in between really, the 50th anniversary of that war provides an excellent excuse to pause, think, and evaluate.
While everyone else is busy considering the meaning of the last half century, we returned to the days immediately following the Six-Day War, and to a little-known saga that could have changed the face of the Middle East as we now know it. Yochai Maital tells the story of two reserve officers, Dan Bavly and Dave Kimche, who stumbled upon an unlikely ally: A prominent Ramallah lawyer by the name of Aziz Shehadeh. Together they soberly imagined a peaceful future; a dream that most Israelis, including the political and military leadership at the time, were too drunk from victory to even consider.
This episode was mixed by Sela Waisblum, and produced in partnership with Libby Lenkinski and the New Israel Fund. A special thanks to Dor Danino who pitched this story to us, and produced the Hebrew version.