chapter  9
17 Pages

The Six Day War and the Decline of the Relationship

Before continuing with the trends in West German foreign policy and their effect on relations with Israel an event must be noted which caused a great stir all over the world, but especially in the Federal Republic. In the early summer of 1967, while the Grand Coalition in Bonn was grappling with the economic recession and witnessing the first manifestations of the extra-parliamentary opposition, a new Middle Eastern crisis began, and on 5 June another war broke out between Israel and its Arab neighbours. Its importance for German-Israeli relations can be overrated if it is judged merely by the excitement and pro-Israel euphoria shown by the West German media and public. The Federal Government remained outwardly calm, declaring its neutrality in the conflict and reasserting its adherence to the principle, enunciated after the 1965 crisis, that no arms or military equipment may be sent from the Federal Republic to areas of tension. What was surprising, however, even if one considers the efforts of the Germans at reconciliation with Israel in the past, was the depth of public sympathy shown for the Israelis in this conflict, the concern for their survival and the admiration for their military achievements.