Yom Kippur War: Two views

Against the odds

by Abraham Rabinovich

Of the all surprises on Yom Kippur 40 years ago, the most difficult for Israel to come to grips with was the least tangible.

The simultaneous attacks by Egypt and Syria were the basic surprise, catching Israel with the bulk of its army not yet mobilized. Egyptian troops unveiled new infantry tactics and a new Soviet anti-tank missile that, in the first 12 hours of fighting, knocked out 180 tanks, the bulk of Israel’s only armored division in Sinai. Israeli leaders were astonished at the audacity of the Arabs in going to war only six years after the Six-Day War seemed to have ushered in Israeli military domination in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.


40 years later

by Uri Dromi

A week before Yom Kippur 1973, I moved from Hazerim air force base to Jerusalem to study history at Hebrew University. Yet it was life, not university, which actually taught me a history lesson.

Early in the morning of Yom Kippur, I woke up amid the half-opened boxes to the screaming buzz of a low-flying jet fighter. Aircraft flying on Yom Kippur? I knew immediately what it meant: The air force was sending a signal to all aircrews scattered across the country to return to their bases immediately. I kissed my wife and my 9-month-old daughter goodbye, promising to return that evening. When I did return, a month later, 2,700 Israeli soldiers were dead and Israel was never the same again.