Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CLXII. A Country in Turmoil (4 of 7)

The Yom Kippur War

Plans have been hatched in great secrecy to attack Israel first where they were stationed near the Suez Canal, next would be the Sinai, and finally (I presume) Israel proper. The day selected was Yom Kippur; the month, October; and the year, 1973.

After the defeat of 1967, nobody in his right mind would have ever thought that Egypt would take such a risk. But Sadat did. And that added to the element of surprise.

The Egyptian army burst through the line of defenses of the Suez Canal and the Sinai Desert. During that time, Israel was asleep at the switch; the fact that it was Yom Kippur – by the admission of the Israel Defense Forces – was no excuse.

The place were the Israeli soldiers were first taken by surprise is still preserved as a tourist site. I visited it in 1996 and, with the help of a guide, understood the sheer genius behind this military move. The surprise was such that a blackboard with the day’s menu was still hanging on the wall!

When the visit was terminated, the guide approached me and asked for a favor. He took me to the menu and asked me to read it; of course, not knowing Hebrew, he has never been able to figure out what was on the menu that day! But how did he figure that I could read Hebrew? Egyptians have an uncanny ability to spot a Jew! I assumed a regretful expression, but he was not fooled. After telling me that as a guide this information was important to him, I read it and translated it. He took careful notes, thanked me profusely and assured me that the Arabic translation would now be posted next to the original menu. Couldn’t he have done that before? Apparently not.

Meanwhile in Israel there was utter panic. Golda Meir (The Prime Minister) asked Moshe Dayan’s assessment. Supposedly, he told her, “Golda, ze ha sof!” (“Golda, it’s the end!”). You need to remember here that if Israel loses a war, it’s over! Egypt can lose umpteen wars and still continue to exist! That can go a long way in explaining why Israel never lost a war, they could never afford to!

But how was Israel eventually saved? Don’t expect me to discuss military strategy, it’s not my forte. Instead, I’ll outline the crucial role Ariel Sharon played.

Sharon is part and parcel of the most critical moments of Israel’s history. While he presided over some tragic military moves (the war against Lebanon in 1982 comes to mind), some of his military exploits are simply brilliant, none more than his move in the 1973 debacle.

Ariel (which means lion) plunged into Egyptian territory, came behind Egypt’s Third Army, and surrounded it. In so doing he had disobeyed orders and could have put his troops in great peril. You’re going to ask me why, right? Well, it was explained to me, and I read about it, however, my knowledge of military matters being what it is, I never fully understood it. There is something about having taken his men too far from the supply lines, and had he not secured a quick victory, the soldiers would have found themselves unable to access victuals and munitions. If you’re a military man, feel free to access the details on the internet and explain it to my readers and myself in a comment.

Egypt considered the Yom Kippur War as having ended in victory. Every October, there are great celebrations to commemorate the outcome of this war. Technically, it was not a victory, but you have to understand the Egyptian psyche to accept it as a victory. I understand it, and therefore rejoice over the fact that first Israel was spared, and second that Egypt’s pride was restored. Indeed, once that happened, it was possible to contemplate a peace between these long-time enemies. And that, ultimately, is the main reason to celebrate.

Sadly, Anwar El Sadat was assassinated in October 1981; and Ariel Sharon has been felled by a stroke in 2007 and has been in a coma ever since.

Comments are closed.