I arose early on that Yom Kippur morning, dressed, grabbed my tallit, and walked from my student dorm in Rehavia near the President’s House to the Kotel (the Western Wall) in Jerusalem. As I approached the Jaffa Gate at about 6:30 am, suddenly, disturbing the quiet of Jerusalem on the holiest day of the year, 3 American-made phantom jets flew south over the Old City. I was stunned and wondered what this was about. I would learn a few minutes before 2 pm that afternoon as the sirens blared throughout the country that Israel was at war. Every able-bodied Israeli soldier was called to the two fronts in Sinai and the Golan Heights. The BBC reported that 1300 Syrian tanks had crossed the border and Egyptian forces had crossed the Bar Lev line in the Sinai.
2,656 Israelis lost their lives and 11,656 were injured in defense of the State of Israel on that day and during the ensuing three weeks. Though Israel won the war on the battlefield, the Yom Kippur War was a disaster and turning point for the Jewish State. It was unclear as the war progressed to Israel’s top political and military leadership whether the Jewish State would survive.
48 years ago seems as yesterday for me. At the time, we in Israel had no idea what was going on. We would learn much after the fact, and today an article appeared in Haaretz that explains even more about what PM Golda Meir and her closest colleagues were thinking in real time based on recently released records. You can read about it here.
Zichronam livracha – May the memory of all who died be remembered for a blessing.