To understand the last forty years in the Middle East, you need to understand the Six-Day War of 1967. That’s one of the messages of a fascinating, enlightening four-part BBC radio documentary about those formative days in June:
After the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, there was a sense of unfinished business in the region.
On the eve of war, Arab civilians believed propaganda broadcasts from Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s Egypt promising an easy victory over Israel; for Israeli citizens there was the feeling of anticipation of terrible defeat.
But the Israeli capability was underestimated – and Arab generals thought so too.
I’ve only listened to the first two parts, but it does a fantastic job of blending historical recordings with new interviews with those decision-makers and innocent bystanders who are still around. I’ve only ever had the vaguest grasp of Middle Eastern politics and history, and it’s a longterm project improve. This series has certainly helped in that regard.