From left: Dr Natan Aridan, moderator Alec Nacamuli and Antony Gorst
After years of fedayeen incursions, and in response to Egyptian President Nasser’s closure of the Straits of Tiran, Israel invaded Egypt in late 1956 with British and French collusion. Their aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser from power.
After the fighting had started, political pressure from the US, the Soviet Union and the UN led to a withdrawal by the three invaders. The episode humiliated Great Britain and France and strengthened Nasser. Israel took the political flak – but the real prize for Prime Minister Ben Gurion was the French quid-pro-quo: the transfer to Israel of French nuclear know-how.
What is considered an embarrassing episode for the western colonialists had far-reaching consequences for 25, 000 Jews living in Egypt. Their businesses were seized and many were given days to leave the country.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Suez crisis, the Association of Jews from Egypt and Harif held a conference on 13 November in London. Dr. Natan Aridan researcher at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel & Zionism, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev of the Negev, and Anthony Gorst, lecturer at the University of Westminster , made presentations to explain the lead-up to the crisis and the consequences for each country involved.
Click here for the first part of the video.
Click here to hear the Q&A ( the second part of the video). There are contributions from Dr Lionel Kopelovitz, past-presdient of the Board of Deputies, and Lucien Gubbay, trustee of the Montefiore Endowment.