The problem with defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without. -Dwight D. Eisenhower
Never “obtaining from their fellow-citizens recognition as natives of equal status,”  and often the target unpredictable, disturbing violence, forward-thinking Zionists began to develop the idea of building a nation from scratch, preferably in the ancient homeland. Crazy as it sounded, the concept took root and Jews around the world began to imagine what a magnificent nation they could produce if given the chance. As the victims of unwarranted racism, they knew their nation would serve the rest of the world as a model of humanity and civilization.
Grandiose castles in the sky touched upon solid ground when the British agreed to help in the quest for nationhood, and Israel officially became a Jewish state on May 14, 1948. The borders weren’t exactly clear, but Jews were of the opinion there was enough of God’s Green Earth for everybody, and willing to negotiate. Arabs, who were not amenable to the idea of sharing, attacked as soon as Britain was out of the way, but the new Israelis would not be deterred and won a decisive victory that cemented the borders to boot. Now Israel was free to bloom into the grand “light unto nations” the Jews were convinced it was destined to be. The first order of business was to enact the Law of Return, which imparted immediate citizenship upon any Jew from around the world who chose to live in Israel.
Despite their egalitarian vision, Jews had a habit of dividing themselves into groups; Ashkenazim, from eastern Europe, controlled most of the power and secretly (or not) felt superior to Sephardim, who traced their roots to Spain. Arab nations, incensed by Israel’s very existence, took out their frustration upon the only Jews they could get their hands on-those who lived within their borders-and a new group of Jews, the Mizrahim,  were forced to take advantage of the Law of Return en masse. Israeli Jews, who commonly referred to the Mizrahi in a negative light,  set up crowded, often humiliating absorption camps to hold thousands of immigrants, and a good portion were stuck, often against their will, out of sight on remote settlements with instructions to farm the land. Israel’s Arab citizens weren’t faring any better, finding themselves locked in when they “were not allowed to leave their own ghetto”  without official permission, and locked out of a number of benefits available to Jewish citizens.
Try as they might to push it out of their minds, Israeli Jews could never entirely forget the fact that they bore an alarming resemblance to everything they promised themselves they never would, and perhaps it was this realization that kept them on their toes, guided by the light of a utopian vision that refused to be extinguished. For the next twenty years Israeli citizens got used to each other and the nation got used to itself. Gaps began to close, and even Arabs placed their Israeli identity above anything else.  Israel wasn’t perfect, but her citizens were willing to work it through and she was well on her way…and then came the wrench in the works to unhinge the bolts and get stuck in the cogs.
It is difficult to imagine how Israelis must have felt in 1967, as surrounding Arab countries, which had always been hostile,  became increasingly aggressive and made it clear they planned to “destroy the Zionist enemy”  and “wipe Israel off the map.”  To make matters worse, America, Israel’s most powerful ally, was confident she would be able to win this one on her own.  The situation was so tense that the Army Chief of Staff “had a nervous breakdown…incapacitated to the point of incoherence by the unbearable tension of waiting with the life of his country in the balance.”  Fortunately for Israelis, they had been preparing for this war for more than thirty years and the Arabs were overconfident bullies who bungled about and did almost as much to lose the war as the Israelis did to win it.  But to Israelis, who for weeks had suffered under the threat of impending annihilation, the fact that their lone little country had successfully gone up against three forces with bigger, better equipped armies was nothing short of a miracle.
As the nation celebrated its victory, nobody seemed to notice a drastic change had taken place. On the positive side, the threat of the impending storm had made the categories of Ashkenazi, Sephardim, and Mizrahi seem insignificant and Jews were united like never before. But whenever a group draws a circle around itself there is a group of “them” that is naturally excluded. In this case, Israel’s Arab citizens suddenly found themselves thrust outside, as if the 20 years of growth had never occurred. Soon, Mizrahi Jews, recognizing their own wartime contributions and sacrifices, began to vocalize discontent at what they considered their lesser status. Israel’s Jews were once again divided, and the only lasting remnant was the Arabs’ status as outsiders.
Israel had been steadily developing by dealing with issues as they arose, but after the War of 1967, “the dominance of the territorial issue was such that it practically paralyzed all other spheres of social, economic, and political life.”  What to do with the Palestinians became the central issue in politics and a party’s designation as right or left generally went no further than its stance on this one matter.  For the past forty years, the all-important subject has been so strongly contested that leaders are impotent to do more than pay it lip service, repeating the same old ideas and arguments over and over again. Israel, still in its formative years, has taken the focus entirely off of itself, and now spends most of its time debating issues related to those who are not, and do not want to be, citizens. Much like any nation under threat, a certain illegality is tolerated regarding finances,  and Knesset, in the interest of national well-being, has been granted a 43 year long free-for-all that is usually the temporary condition of a nation in immediate crisis. The Supreme Court, which in any other burgeoning nation would have steadily gained power to affect the checks and balances vital to democratic government, has been stifled by the all-encompassing need for security.
Perhaps, though, the most unfortunate lasting effect of the events of 1967 is that which gets the least recognition; Israel’s Jews lowered the bar in regards to their commitment to a utopian nation. The initial, staggering quake of warfare was followed by almost imperceptible tremors of justification until many Jews of Israel no longer saw any resemblance to that which they promised they would not become. Righteousness came to look a lot like being right and paternalism swayed left until the center began to look like the radical place to be. Fortunately, though, unfortunate things have a way of imploding upon themselves because extremists get too comfortable. Eventually, the rational majority looks around and wonders how this quack and that bozo managed to get where they are. Soon thereafter, the rational majority realizes it hasn’t been acting so rationally, after all, gets back on track, and chugs forward with a newfound determination. This is the way of the world, and Israel, while exceptional, is no exception.
 Pinsker, Leo Auto-Emancipation
 Also called “Oriental,” these are the Jews of the Diaspora who never really dispersed, but instead, stayed in the Middle East and Africa.
 Segev, Tom “Nameless People” in 1949: The First Israelis p. 159 “Most of the press’s references to the immigrants at the time were negative…overwhelming majority of publications that took an unfavorable view were referring to the immigrants from Arab countries.” Israelis were of the opinion these Jews were anti-social savages prone to theft, “filth, gambling, drunkenness, and prostitution.” Even worse, their children were just as hopeless, and if Israelis weren’t careful, these derelicts would not only destroy Israeli civilized culture, but likely attack Israeli Jews as soon as they were done fighting the Arabs.
 Kimmerling, Baruch Odd Man Out: Arabs in Israel p. 177
 See directly above; p. 183 “When asked by Israeli sociologists in the summer of 1966 to state their core identities, those in a sample gave the following rank order: Israeli, Israeli-Arab, Arab, and Palestinian.”
 No Arab country recognized Israel’s right to exist, and consistently reiterated the desire to wipe it off the map.
 Syrian President Dr. Nureddin al-Attasi May 22, 1967
 President Aref of Iraq, May 31, 1967
 Pipes, Daniel “Six Days of War” New York Post June 4, 2002 “Washington, ironically, was more confident than Tel Aviv of an Israel victory…the US Secretary of Defense predicted that if Israel pre-empted, it would defeat its enemies within the week…”
 Krauthammer, Charles Washington Post, May 18, 2007
 This is by no means meant to understate the valiance, courage, and military prowess displayed by Israel’s victory, but the fact that Israel so decisively won in six days speaks to the fact that the Arabs, however confident they might have been, were unprepared and ill-advised.
 Edy Kaufman, Shukri B. Abed, and Robert L. Rothstein Democracy, Peace, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Lynne Rienner Publishers London, 1993. P. 77
 Professor Divine Class Lecture 11/15/2010
 Professor Divine Class Lecture 12/01/2010