Any documentary about the Six Day War—which pitted Israel against Egypt, Syria and Jordan—claiming to be evenhanded is pretty much guaranteed to be attacked from both sides. In chronicling the 1967 Six Day War, Ziv walks a political tightrope, but like a good aerialist, he maintains his balance.
Using archival footage, reenactments (blessedly limited) and extensive interviews with key players, Ziv guides us through the months leading up to the short, but incredibly important, conflict. He explains how Egyptian president Abdel Gamal Nasser and Jewish prime minister Levi Eshkol got caught up, however reluctantly, in a game of brinkmanship that almost had to end in bloodshed.
Once the war starts and the Israeli air force and ground troops achieve definitive successes in the first few hours, Ziv catches the wonderful irony that the Egyptians, being fed lies by state-controlled media, were celebrating nonexistent victories while the Israelis were experiencing a news blackout designed to delay any international intervention.
Ziv does a nice job of explaining the complex motives driving all the relevant parties, and the interviewed officials convey the desperate pace at which things got out of control. Historians and true believers on both sides may find things to complain about, but this is a clear and compelling history lesson about a war that shaped the last 40 years of Middle East politics.
In English and subtitled Arabic and Hebrew.