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Point of departure

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This article looks at the impact of the 1967 June War upon the Jews of Lebanon and analyses why this war precipitated large-scale Jewish emigration. It argues that there were four key reasons for the Jewish exodus. First, this war significantly increased the Palestinian refugee community as well as the fedayeen presence in Lebanon. The latter instilled fear in Lebanon's Jews as the fedayeen moved about freely in uniforms and carried weapons. Indeed, there were acts of intimidation, extortion and violence by fedayeen against Jews, most notably the murder of Eduard Sasson, which sent shock waves through the Jewish community. Second, business conditions worsened after the war. Third, the Lebanese state placed no restrictions upon either its Jewish citizens or Jewish wealth leaving the country. Fourth, and most importantly, Lebanon started changing as the sectarian divide deepened and the state and its security forces slowly lost control. The Lebanese Jews saw their security tied firmly to a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious Lebanon and, when this idea of Lebanon became threatened, they believed that it no longer held a future for their children.

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