One of the convictions shared by the Israelis on the eve of the Six-Day War has just been seriously shaken. The certainty that the Jewish state was threatened with extermination in May-June, 1967, has attained a status of dogma, which no one could question without the likelihood of being accused of treasor or mental instability."
Thus begins a review of the "annihilation controversy" in Israel, or the "Generals' polemic," as it has been called by an Israeli Jewish journalist, Amnon Kapeliuk, writing in Le Monde. (I am heavily indebted to this important review in early sections of this article.) On June 12, 1967, immediately after the war was over, Levi Eshkol, the Israeli prime minister, stated to the Knesset: "The existence of the Israeli state hung on a thread, but the hopes of the Arab leaders to exterminate Israel were brought to nought."