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45 years ago – Yom Kippur War launched against Israel

45 years ago – Yom Kippur War launched against Israel

I remember the feeling of helplessness, and the near panic in the community because there was nothing we could do.

Today is the 45th Anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

We have covered the war in several prior posts, including in an extensive post in 2015, Yom Kippur War – October 6, 1973:

There are certain events when you just remember exactly where you were when you heard the news.

I was on stage for a third-grade practice of a school play when a teacher walked into the room (the gym, which also was the school theater and lunch room) and told everyone that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been killed. We were sent home early.

I was at my desk using AOL to access the internet (!) when early reports came in of a “small plane” hitting the World Trade Center. And you know the rest.

And on October 6, 1973, I woke up expecting to go to Temple for the Yom Kippur holiday. I turned on my clock radio, the old style that had the metal flaps that flipped to change the time. And I heard that Israel had been invaded in what would become known as the Yom Kippur War. The rest of the day is a blur, I don’t even remember if we went to Temple. I remember the feeling of helplessness, and the near panic in the community because there was nothing we could do.

In that post I included numerous images and videos of the fighting, including the famous battle for the Golan Heights in which a small group of Israeli tanks held off a Syrian armored force a hundred times their size. At I noted in that post, The Heights of Courage (available for free online) by Avigdor Kahalani tells the story of the battle from the view of a participant.  The battle also is the focus of the Prologue to Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears:

At the end of this day the troopers of the Barak and the 7th heard over their unit radio nets a message from Israeli Defense Forces High Command.


And so they had. Yet outside Israel, except for schools in which men learn the profession of arms, this epic battle is strangely unremembered. As in the Six Day War of 1967, the more freewheeling operations in the Sinai were the ones that attracted the excitement and admiration of the world: bridging the Suez, the Battle of the ‘Chinese’ Farm, the encirclement of the Egyptian 3rd Army – this despite the fearful implications of the Golan fighting, which was far closer to home. Still, the survivors of those two brigades knew what they had done, and their officers could revel in the knowledge that among professional soldiers who know the measure of skill and courage that such a stand entails, their Battle for the Heights would be remembered with Thermopylae, Bastogne and Gloucester Hill.


I visited those Golan battlefields in 2013, On the Golan Heights – The Battle of Tel Saki

[Tel Saki Battle Memorial, Golan Heights, Israel, 2013[Photo by William Jacobson, 2013]


[Tel Saki Battle Memorial, Golan Heights][Photo by William Jacobson 2013]

And On the Golan Heights – The Valley of Tears

[Valley of Tears Monument – Golan Heights – Israeli and Syrian Tanks][Photo by William Jacobson 2013]


[Valley of Tears Monument, Golan Heights, Israel][Photo by William Jacobson 2013]

I never visited the battlefields in the Sinai, but we covered those battles when Ariel Sharon died, including the crossing of the Suez Canal:



(Ariel Sharon at Suez Canal 1973)(Source:

In the years after the 1967 war, Israel was considered invincible. The 1973 invasion proved that Israel is always just one attack away from the abyss. That, together with the brutal suicide bombing of the 2nd Intifada starting in 2001, are why Israel understands the importance of strategic depth even in the age of missiles.

My take after spending time in Samaria is the take I still have:

Location, location, location.  It’s the high ground, stupid.


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Thank you for posting this!

I remember praying for Israel.

    audax in reply to gbear. | October 7, 2018 at 3:36 am

    I remember sitting on Alert at Aviano Air Base in case we got involved.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to gbear. | October 7, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Praying is fine, but firepower is more effective.

    I have wondered for a long time why Israel does not threat Palestinians as enemy combatants. I understand that international politics play a role, but with Trump in office it seems to me that Israel could and should take the gloves off. Are they going to continue to put up with Arab aggression indefinitely?

    This is a war, and wars are won by inflicting pain at a high sustained rate until the opponent begs for peace. Israel’s tit for tat responses are not accomplishing this. In order to achieve peacea, they need to be killing at a 1000, or maybe 10000 to one ratio. Fuel air bombs would be ideal, and they would open up new settlement areas:)

    In my opinion Israel needs to thoroughly pacify Palestinians.

      Because the Israeli legal establishment, led by the Supreme Court, won’t let them. You have to understand that Israeli democracy is a sham. Israel is not governed by its elected government but by its legal establishment, which is firmly on the left. The moderate left, to be sure, but nonetheless the left.

      Right-wingers are allowed to win elections, but they must obey their so-called “legal advisers”, whom they must appoint from a short list of three provided by the career civil service section of the DOJ, all of whom will be guaranteed leftists.

      Only a department’s legal adviser may speak for it in court; even if the minister himself shows up in court and shouts that the legal adviser is not representing the government’s position, the judge will order him to shut up.

      And the courts do not recognize any such concept as “justiciability”, or “standing”. Every government decision is reviewable by the courts, and anyone can petition a court for such review.

      And when anyone dares to challenge this system they are shouted down as traitors to the “rule of law”. The Israeli public has been conditioned to accept that the rule of law means the rule of judges and lawyers.

    Arminius in reply to gbear. | October 7, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    I prayed for ISIS. What did Christ command us?

    I still pray for ISIS. And I can also promise you you that you would not like me in my younger days. Which especially burned me about the Kavanaugh hearings. Like I haven’t learned anything.

    Take what you want, God said to the Red Wolf. Take what you want and pay for it. Oh, I’ve paid.

It’s amazing to realize that 1973 was the high water mark for the Arab World in their war against Israel. No matter how hard they’ve tried, it’s been all downhill for them since, and in the case of Syria and Jordan, their military forces are dim shadows of what they used to be. (Syria’s military can’t even keep their own people under control) 1973 was the closest they ever got – the closest they ever will get.

…and always remember the lessons of the nasty Sagger and SAM missile surprise that cost us so dearly !!! דמד

The danger today, as I see it, is that Israel’s military might is exceptionally potent, but, the public relations battle for “hearts and minds” is being lost, at least where the Left is concerned. And, as much as I’d like to write Leftists off, the truth is that they control some important spheres of influence in society — academia, the media, entertainment, etc.

Mind you, I don’t blame Israel for this predicament — this is squarely on the contemptibly ignorant and fact-averse Leftists in academia, the media and in the Dumb-o-crat and Leftist European parties, for whom evincing solidarity with the allegedly oppressed “Palestinians” serves as a self-congratulatory and virtue-signaling fashion statement — a sort of “I support oppressed peoples everywhere” badge, that supposedly proves one’s status as an “enlightened” Leftist and SJW.

Never mind the myriad inherent pathologies of Islam, such as innate totalitarianism, supremacism, anti-Semitism, anti-secularism, perpetual belligerence and spite; which pathologies plainly motivate Hamas and Fatah’s perpetually infantile belligerence and bad faith pseudo-diplomacy; never mind that Jews were living in the Middle East millennia before Islam was ever founded. Only the contrived Narrative of alleged victim and alleged oppressor, matters.

I’d like to see a sophisticated, multi-pronged public relations effort by Israel and allied states to attempt to fight back against the Left’s contemptible efforts to paint “Palestinians” specifically, and, Muslims at-large, as alleged “victims,” while simultaneously emphasizing the stark contrasts in the state of gay rights and women’s rights in Israel, and, in the rest of Islamic world.

I was alerted and left home the second day of the war and didn’t return home until 5 days after the fighting stopped. Flying support for Israel in and out of Tel Aviv with the USAF. Some of the proudest days of my life in that we were able to help Israel and those fighting for her.

    guyjones in reply to JL65. | October 7, 2018 at 10:24 am

    You were part of Operation “Nickel Grass?” I was just reading about it on Wikipedia.

    These U.S. airlift operations never seem to get the attention that they deserve.

    Thank you for your service on behalf of our freedom and that of our allies.

buckeyeminuteman | October 7, 2018 at 12:02 am

I just got back last week from a 25 day trip to Israel. Stayed on an Israeli Air Force base and did construction work with them. Was there for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. During my stay I realized how serious the Israelis are with their defense. How they are fighting everyday to keep their citizens safe. I saw their F-15s and F-16s taking off the day they bombed sites in Syria and Syria shot the Russians down. I saw their iron dome radar sites pointing towards Gaza. I saw the wall around the West Bank that actually works. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Israel. My TDY certainly bolstered that respect.

    I don’t want to unduly pry or appear ill-informed, but, can I ask how you got on this construction project?

    Are you an active U.S. servicemember? Or, was this a private-sector project? Or, civilian volunteer work?

    I’m genuinely curious how you were able to participate in this project. Thank you for indulging my curiosity.

      buckeyeminuteman in reply to guyjones. | October 7, 2018 at 10:12 pm

      I am in a US military construction unit. We are building a compound on an Israeli base that Americans use every year for a multinational exercise.

I remember my father waking me up with the news that Israel was at war and we needed to say Psalms. And teachers interrupting class at the top of every hour for the next few weeks, so we could hear the radio news.

And, unless I’m mistaken in my history reading, European nations shamefully refused to provide Israel with military supplies, during the ’73 War. Happy to see the Arabs destroy Israel, I suppose.

Was this simply a craven calculus of self-interest, based on a need for Arab oil? Plus, perhaps, the usual latent European anti-Semitism?

Somewhat ironic, almost fifty years later, that Israel has the gumption to stand up to Islamic supremacism and totalitarianism, while Europe has invited its own destruction, by inviting millions of Muslims to come to its shores, to destroy the fabric of secular democracy and the values of the Enlightenment.

Just finished Kahalani’s The Heights of Courage. Excellent!!
“I remember all of them … who fought like lions till morning dawned. I stand here alone and my heart is filled with a silent prayer: Let there be no more war.”