ON MONDAY morning, June 5,1967, I was awakened as usual by the sound of my radio-clock, automatically turning itself on to deliver the 8 A.M. news. The news that morning was grim. "War has broken out in the Near East," the announcer said. "Aircraft of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq have bombed Israel. Radio Cairo reports that Tel Aviv is in flames and an oil refinery near Haifa has been destroyed. Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, the Sudan, Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia have announced declarations of war against Israel. There has been no word as yet from the Israeli government on conditions there."
Scarcely awake yet, I felt a sudden chill of terror. It's happened at last, I thought. Pearl Harbor Day once more, this time for Israel. I pictured waves of Arab planes streaking in from the Mediterranean or from the desert and smashing, in a few hours, what had taken so long to build. I saw the Russian-built tanks of Egypt rolling through the shattered streets of Tel Aviv. I saw the troops of Jordan bursting across no man's land into sleek Jewish Jerusalem. I saw Syrian infantrymen descending like locusts on the little farming settlements of the Galilee. And I felt a sense of personal anguish and loss, as though the enemy were marching up my own street toward the comfortable house where I lay still abed.
Even in that moment of fear and despair, I paused to wonder at my own presumptuousness. By what right did I allow myself the luxury of these emotions? What, after all, did Israel mean to me, that I should be so deeply concerned? Some friends of mine lived there, but no close relatives. Up to that time I had never visited the place, never contributed a penny toward its develop-