Monday, June 27, 2011

the Six Day War

Years ago I read a book about the Six Day War, and recently found another copy. It is a fascinating story, and is so relevant given the current events in the Middle East. The title is Fantastic Victory; Israel's rendezvous with destiny, by Cleon Skousen, and was published in 1967. I will include an excerpt, from p 8-10, but the whole book is worth tracking down and reading.

Mr Skousen was a frequent visitor to the Middle East and recorded a conversation he had with an Arab cab driver in 1963.
Essentially, this is what the Arab said:
When Israel was made an independent nation by the UN, the Palestine Arabs were also given territory for an independent nation. But instead of accepting this plan which was supposed to go into effect in 1948, the Palestine Arabs decided to get six other Arab nations to join them in declaring war on Israel so they could drive them out. That way they would get all the land.
The leaders of these Arab nations sent word to us Arabs living in Israel that we should move over into Jordan territory so we wouldn't get hurt during the war against the Jews. The Arab leaders promised us that we would be away from our homes only a short time, not more than three weeks at the longest. Then they said we could return and possess not only our own property but the land and buildings of the Jews as well.
Most of the Arabs in Israel moved over into Jordan just as soon as they could although some stayed because the Israeli government promised them good treatment if they would remain.
How many stayed?
About a hundred thousand, mostly those up around Nazareth.
Then what happened to the million who came out?
We had a holiday at first. Everyone expected the Jews to be defeated quickly. But they fought hard. They were stronger and better fighters than the Arab leaders had expected. After a while the Arabs had to give up because the Jews were beginning to win more territory than they had in the first place. In a few months an armistice was signed. This left all of us Arabs from Israel without any homes. The Jews said they would hold our land in trust for us but they said that since we had joined the enemy we could not return until the Arab nations had agreed to recognize Israel and sign a permanent peace treaty. This never happened so the next thing we knew all of us Arabs from Israel were confined to special camps set up by the Arab governments. Most of us were confined in Jordan but some were located in Egypt and Lebanon. A lot were held by Egypt in the Gaza strip.
We were not allowed to seek jobs, farm the land or become citizens of these countries. The refugee camps became prison camps with our Arab brothers standing over us as guards.
What happened to the Arabs who remained in Israel?

They say they are doing very well. They elect their own representatives. They use their own language in the schools. They are allowed to study the Moslem Koran instead of the Jewish Bible. Some of them come to Jordan on business or to visit so we get to talk to them. They sometimes complain that the Jews compete for their business. Still, they tell me about their new houses and about buying cars so I guess they are doing all right.
What about the story that the Israelis drove thousands of the Arabs from their homes?
Yes, I think this happened to some, especially around Jaffa and Haifa and later along the border of Jerusalem. But what your guide told you was not the whole story. During the winter of 1947 adn 1948 the British were angry at the Jews, and the Arabs in Israel found that they could make raids on teh Jews without any interference from the British. I was against it because the Jews had been storing up weapons and I knew they are mean fighters when they get mad. Eventually they did get mad and they attacked Jaffa and Haifa. A lot of Arabs fled from these main centers but they did not have to leave Israel unless they wanted to.
Later, when the Arab leaders ordered us to leave Israel the Jews had sound trucks go up and down the streets for several days asking us not to leave. They told us that if we stayed we would not have to fight to help the Jews and that we would be treated well as long as we were neutral and didn't help our enemies.
Here's one more excerpt from page 244:
The early Zionists, looking toward a binational state, never thought they would, could or should replace the Arabs in Palestine. When terrorism and fighting mounted in 1947-48, Arab leaders urged Palestinian Arabs to flee, promising that the country would soon be liberated. Israelis tried to induce the Arabs to stay. For this reason, the Israelis do not now accept responsibility for the Arab exodus. Often quoted is the statement of a Palestinian Arab writer that the Arab leaders "told us: 'Get out so that we can get in.' We got out but they did not get in." (LIFE magazine, Special Edition, Israel's Swift Sword, p 89
The situation in the Middle East is long standing and complicated, I certainly do not understand it all. This book gives insight and understanding; it clearly shows the hand of God in the Six Day War. It was written 44 years ago, and I don't know if current conditions in Israel are the same as they were then. But I encourage you to get a copy,  you can borrow mine (which I found at a used book store), read it and increase your understanding of the events in Israel of June 1967. I highly recommend it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why I Love Summer

This is definitely my favorite time of year ~ warm weather, strawberries from the garden, long days ~ what more could I ask for? Maybe the most important reason I love summer is because of the 4th of July, my favorite holiday. I suppose it was my parents who instilled in me a love for this country and an appreciation for freedom. It's importance in our family was second only to our love and devotion for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the Book of Mormon we read:
"...according to the Spirit of God, which is the spirit of freedom..." Alma 61:15
And in the Doctrine and Covenants:
"And for this purpose have I established the Constititution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose..." D&C 101:80
So, because of my feelings for this land and the principles of freedom on which it was established,  I want to share with you a few of my favorite books and movies on this topic.

 I just finished this one, it came highly recommended and I did enjoy it. 
WARNING: it has lots of swear words, so be forewarned. 
It is a touching story of bravery and dedication.

 This is a book that was made into a movie by HBO, both are excellent.

 I read this book a few years ago in just a couple days, wonderful! 
I plan to read it again this summer.

I cried pretty much through this whole movie, but just let me say that I wasn't the only one.
It's a true story about a military officer who volunteers to escort the remains of a fallen Marine 
back to his hometown in Wyoming. 

 I found this on Netflix a few nights ago and watched it for the second time.
Another movie based on a true story which gives a glimpse of personal sacrifice given for freedom. 

This one makes me cry too, a touching story and explanation of how freedom and the gospel of Jesus Christ are intertwined. We read it every Christmas, but would be wonderful to read anytime.

Please share with me your favorite stories, books, movies and music that celebrate freedom, our country, and those who have served and sacrificed for both. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

a week with some of my favorite people

Last week I got to be with 3 of my grandchildren, what a joy they are to me!
Here are a few of my favorite pictures, they will give you just a taste of the fun we had.

my jogging buddies

doctor kit and patient from the hospital

with their whale named Dave

what two straws are for

best friends

a safe place for a favorite toy

"You made your cracker into the Piston Cup!"

God so loved the world

Sometimes I have the experience of learning something I thought I already knew. Michael McLean wrote a song about long-married love that says "compared to how I love you now, it's almost like it wasn't love before". Coming up on 36 years of marriage I identify with that statement. Shared experiences, heartaches, and joys deepen and sweeten love, it is truly a privilege to grow old together. What I thought I knew about love on my wedding day has been eclipsed by the love my sweetheart and I now share, and I think it will continue to get better.
Recently I gained a new understanding for the love our Father in Heaven and Our Savior have for each of us. I was sitting in the Provo temple and as I watched people come and go I had some tender thoughts. I first though how wonderful it would be to see one of my children come in the door. I would rise to meet them, we would embrace and I would tell them how happy I was to see them and how much I love them; it would be a joyful experience.
Then I had a newer, deeper thought. If the Savior was sitting in my place He would know everyone, He would rise and embrace each one and express His love and delight that they had come to His holy house.
Then I began to see everyone differently.  I realized that He knows their hearts and the burdens they carry. I remembered, somehow differently than before, that every person is of such great worth that He suffered for us all individually, as if it was all for us alone. In each person I began to see someone that my Savior loves dearly, someone He knows by name and circumstance, someone He was willing to die for.
I will be a better person if I can remember what I learned that day, that we are not as we might seem ~ we are precious children of God, greatly loved by Him.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. D&C 18:10