Johnson, Lyndon Baines

(1908–73)
   36th president of the United States. Johnson’s first involvement with the Middle East conflict was after the Sinai Campaign of 1956. As Democratic majority leader of the Senate, he publicly opposed President Eisenhower’s threat of sanctions if Israel did not withdraw her forces unconditionally from the Sinai Desert and the Gaza Strip. Johnson was himself in the White House when the Israel-Arab crisis of 1967 erupted. When NASSER declared a blockade of the Gulf of Akaba in May, President Johnson tried to implement the guarantee of free passage by an international naval escort for Israel vessels, but had to abandon the idea through lack of support in Congress and from allied governments. Through the then unprecedented use of the ‘hot line’ to President Kosygin in Moscow, he ensured that the Six-Day War would be localized, without a military involvement of the Big Powers.
   In the Security Council debates following on the Israel victory, the Johnson administration showed that it had understood the lesson of 1956. It firmly upheld the position that Israel forces should withdraw from the cease-fire lines only in the context of a final and agreed peace settlement. Moreover, Johnson provided Israel with the military and economic aid it needed to maintain its deterrent strength. This unwritten alliance was marked by the visit of Prime Minister Levi ESHKOL to Johnson’s Texan ranch in the spring of 1968 and the decision announced later that year that Israel would be sold Phantom planes, the most advanced and versatile fighter bomber aircraft in the US arsenal.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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