The President Who Didn’t Get Credit For Creating Strong Alliance With Israel

president lyndon johnson and prime minister levi eshkol 695b3d 1024

by Jeff Dunetz at

As U.S. Presidents go. he was one of the most supportive of Israel. He armed Israel after the Six-Day War and before the Yom Kippur War, allowing the Jewish state to protect itself.

One of the biggest falsehoods about Israeli/U.S. history is that the U.S. wasn’t always the supplier or weapon to Israel. France was the Jewish State’s biggest military benefactor for the first twenty years of her existence. Czechoslovakia sold the nascent State of Israel weapons, beginning with the War For Independence in 1948

The U.S. may have been the first country to recognize Israel after it declared independence in May 1948. Still wanting to do the right thing, Harry Truman ignored the objections of an Arabist State Department (some things never change). The War for Independence was not won with American Weapons. As the U.S. refused to sell weapons to Israel.

Great Britain went further. Beginning in 1947, Great Britain urged the Arab states to attack Israel.

In 1956, after Egypt closed the Suez Canal, Israel joined France and Britain in a military effort to take over the Sinai and open up shipping lanes closed by the Egyptians. The U.S. forced the end of the three-country. And leave the Sinai. Egypt learned from the U.S. demand. They repeated the blockade eleven years later, leading to the Six-Day War. There was no U.S. military help during the Six-Day War. The Arab nations received a healthy supply of arms from the USSR. It wasn’t until after the Six-Day War and a meeting with President Lyndon Baines Johnson that the U.S. began to move toward a strong friendship with the State of Israel. In fact, it wasn’t till LBJ was President that the United States became Israel’s chief diplomatic and primary arms supplier.

Soon after the 1967 war, Soviet premier Aleksei Kosygin asked Johnson at the Glassboro Summit why the U.S. supported Israel when there were 80 million Arabs and only 3 million Israelis. “Because it is right,” responded the straight-shooting Texan.

Among his jobs, during his almost three-decades-long service to Israel, Yehuda Avner was a speechwriter and advisor to PM Levi Eshkol. After the PM met with LBJ, he wrote a blow-by-blow story for the Jerusalem Post about their meeting called On The Seventh Day. The seventh day referred to the day after the Six-Day War.

Eshkol’s meeting with Johnson resulted in the first substantial military aid from the U.S. to Israel. As Avner’s article is very long, the below is edited by taking the emotional and physical descriptions of the involved parties.

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