Today is the 40 th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. It is hard to imagine the profound impact this war had on Israel. During the attacks I do not think we could ever have imagined the enduring influence the war would have here– nor do I feel we fully understand its lasting weight today. The Yom Kippur War somehow broke the back of the secular Zionist dream, a loss from which the country has not fully recovered. The death toll of the war, though high, the loses were not nearly as great as the War in Independence. Though, Israel's War of Independence lasted more than a year, while the Yom Kippur War lasted less than a month. However, these losses were much greater than just the deaths. So many of these soldiers could have been spared if we had been better prepared ... if we better understood what was happening in Egypt ... if we understood what we did not comprehend. What was permanently shattered on that day 40 years ago, was our belief that our leaders know what is right. The war also broke the monpoloy of the Labor party on government. Unfortunately, instead of fostering two equal, balanced parties, over the better part of the last 40 years, we have seen the Likud become the "new" labor party (but that discussion is for a different day.)
Today was a day for reflection, still mixed with some recriminations. At a conference held here today, the head of the Military Intelleigeince and the head of the Mossad during the Yom Kippur war (today, both men in their 80’s) attacked each other. There are some wounds that can never be healed.
The right and the left here each gleaned their own lessons to learn from the war. After that Yom Kippur, the right resolved that we must never be surprised. The left, on the other hand, bemoans what might have been had we only understood that Sadat was willing to make peace before the war. Both sides of course are partially right.
The Yom Kippur war had a major impact on me. I was still living in the States at that time, working for the Jewish Agency and with the Israeli Consulate. As a result, I spent the during of the war in a very Israeli atmosphere– feeling helpless, like those around me to do more than raise money, organize rallies and help send volunteers. In the end, it was this war that convinced me– more than anything else– that I needed to be here and serve in the army. (Which I finally did two years later.) The Israel that greeted me was a different Israel,l and the army was a very different army– everyone working hard to ensure that the ignorance and surprises of 1973 never happened again
I would also like to note the other side. I was moved tonight when an Egyptian who I follow on Twitter retweeted a post of a friend which included a picture of his Dad with him Mom- his Dad died in the war. The other interesting Tweet was from Mina Fayek (@minafayek):
10/6/13, 2:37 PM
This year Sadat's family members were invited to #Oct6 official celebrations. Last year Morsi invited his killers.
Back to today– The U.S. military had a major success today, when it captured Anas al Libi, the mastermind behind the attack on the U.S. embassy in Africa in 1999. While the attack in Africa was less successful than the attack on Somalia, the full story is not known. Al Libi was the last of the top leaders of Al Qaeda, and his capture is a major success for the U.S. military.