The nascent State of Israel in 1948 needed a steady supply of water for drinking and irrigation and thus, the National Water Carrier Project was launched.
The plan was to connect the country via pipelines to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in Israel’s north. Two main rivers supply the Kinneret with its freshwater: the Hasbani River in Lebanon and the Banias River in Syria.
When Israel began construction in 1953, neighboring Arab countries, having failed to destroy Israel in 1948, saw a chance to severely limit Israel’s growth and slowly choke the country to death by denying it fresh water.
When Israel finally completed the project in 1964, the Arabs decided to divert the headwaters of both rivers. Israel considered this an act of war and attacked Syrian positions.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon admitted that while June 5, 1967 is widely believed to be the beginning of the Six-Day War, in fact the war began 2 1/2 years earlier when Israel decided to act against the Arab diversion of water leading to the Kinneret.