> 50 Years On From The 'Yom Kippur' War:Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

50 Years On From The 'Yom Kippur' War:Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

50 Years On From The 'Yom Kippur' War:Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
50 Years On From The 'Yom Kippur' War

Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on October 6, 1973, on the day of 'Yom Kippur'. This time on the morning of October 7, Hamas attacked Israel. So many are comparing this attack with the Yom Kippur war. Many believe that the Israeli government's aggressive policies  are responsible for the current situation.

Israeli analyst and Tel Aviv University professor Michel Milshtein, this surprise is less about the suddenness of the war, and more about the way the Arab states have fought. The courage and tenacity of the Arabs, their unique war tactics, and their ability to understand the Israeli way of thinking became embarrassing and frustrating for Israel.

According to the Hebrew calendar, the first day of the new year is known as 'Rosh Hashanah'. The first month of the Hebrew year is 'Tishrei'. According to Jewish belief, on this day the Lord opens the fortune-telling book of the next year.


Therefore, from this day, the Jews make a special prayer. Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, is celebrated on the tenth day of Tishri. At the end of this day, the Lord closed the book after writing the destiny of the Jews. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called Yamim Norayim, or days of repentance.


The day of Yom Kippur is observed by Jews individually, familially and collectively through intense prayer, repentance, fasting and abstinence. This day, which is very important and prestigious in Judaism, is an official holiday in Israel. All but a limited number of essential services remain closed.


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50 years ago On October 6, 1973, Yom Kippur was being celebrated in Israel as usual. And on this day Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. They launched this attack to avenge their defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War and to regain lost land. At first, Israel was stunned by this sudden attack. The country's leaders could not have imagined that an Arab state would take such a risk as to attack Israel after its disastrous defeat just six years earlier.


Golda Meir, the Prime Minister of Israel at the time, thought that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat would not take such an unreasonable step as to get involved in the conflict. High-ranking Israeli military officers boasted that in the event of a conflict, Israel's "line of withdrawal would be Cairo." And that if the Arabs attacked, they would be retaliated in such a way that they would "remember the defeat of 1967 rather fondly."


Israeli intelligence and spies had already hinted that the attack might happen in the evening or at night on October 6. But when the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal and entered the occupied Sinai Peninsula at noon on October 6 (the day was 10 Ramadan according to the Hijri calendar), the Israeli forces were largely unprepared. The Syrian army also attacked the Golan Heights on the other border. Israel captured the Sinai from Egypt and the Golan from Syria in the 1967 war. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan looked distraught on the night of October 6 after the Egyptian and Syrian attacks began. He said, the Arabs now "want to take over Israel to finish the Jews."



However, it did not take long for Israel to overcome the initial shock of the Egyptian-Syrian attack. On October 10, they drove Syrian forces from the Golan and launched a counterattack inside Syria. However, Israel had to gain a lot of speed to cope with the Egyptian forces. US President Richard Nixon continued to increase military aid to Israel. On the other hand, Syria and Egypt received some military supplies from the then Soviet Union. On October 15, a heavy Israeli counterattack forced the Egyptian forces to retreat. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council adopted a cease-fire resolution on 24 October, although the fighting stopped on the Egyptian border on 26 October.


During the Yom Kippur War, oil-producing Arab countries simultaneously raised the price of fuel by a whopping 70 percent. They also decided to cut oil supplies to the United States and the Netherlands in support of Israel. These had a negative impact around the world. However, in the Arab-Israeli war, it did not eventually become a major player.


At the end of the 1973 war, Israel was victorious, but the country's losses were much higher than in 1967. Three thousand Israeli soldiers lost their lives.


The public was psychologically devastated. They were very angry with the government and the defense forces. As a result, Golda Mayer had to resign within eight months of the end of the war.



Israel was invincible and no one would dare attack it—a narrative that permeated the Jewish state after 1967. After six years it was partially proved to be false.


That painful and bitter memory still lives in Israel. What Egypt wanted through this war, they achieved that goal five years later with the Camp David Peace Treaty. Israel returned the occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.


Indeed, the invasion of Egypt and Syria at that time came as a surprise to Israel. But according to Israeli analyst and Tel Aviv University professor Michel Milshtein, this surprise is less about the suddenness of the war, and more about the way the Arab states have fought. The courage and tenacity of the Arabs, their unique war tactics, and their ability to understand the Israeli way of thinking became embarrassing and frustrating for Israel.

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