chapter
Introduction
Pages 14

This book explores Franco-Israeli relations in the years 1958-1967, a period that encompasses most of de Gaulle’s second term leading the French nation, rst as Prime Minister and later as President. While some topics require a thorough investigation in order to produce a fascinating story, for others, a simple presentation of the basic facts, known to all, is sufcient to arouse great interest. I believe that the story of Franco-Israeli relations is an example of the latter. Indeed, it contains all the elements of a fascinating tale: a brave friendship that deteriorates and disintegrates; plots and intrigues; summit meetings between leaders and dramatic gestures; and nally – a confrontation. However, the most interesting element is the mystery surrounding this chapter of history, an enigma this study attempts to solve. In 1958, during the honeymoon period of Franco-Israeli relations, a new leader came to power in France, a man who was considered a friend of Israel. At this time the French and Israeli defence establishments were engaged in intimate relations, alongside the close cooperation that existed on all levels of government. Likewise, the cordiality between the two publics was no less important than the feelings of goodwill among politicians, senior ofcials and generals. The French public admired the enterprise of the tiny state of Israel, while the Israelis were engulfed by a wave of Francophile enthusiasm. It was difcult to envision any negative change in this situation, and only few expressed such concern. Yet these pessimists’ predictions proved accurate.