To understand the outcome of the Yom Kipper 1973 war we need to look at the outcome of the 1967 war.
The Yom Kippur War of 1973 was the last full war between Israel and it Arabs neighbors. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the holiest day of prayer and fasting in the Jewish calendar. The Yom Kippur War is also known as the October War. At the time of Yom Kippur, Israel was led by Golda Meir and Egypt by Anwar Sadat.
The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered cease-fire. The outnumbered Israel Defense Forces achieved a swift and decisive victory in the brief war, rolling over the Arab coalition that threatened the Jewish state and more than doubling the amount of territory under Israel’s control. The greatest fruit of victory lay in seizing the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan; thousands of Jews wept while bent in prayer at the Second Temple’s Western Wall.
Increased tensions and skirmishes along Israel’s northern border with Syria were the immediate cause of the third Arab-Israeli war. In 1967, Syria intensified its bombardment of Israeli settlements across the border, and Israel struck back by shooting down six Syrian MiG fighters. After Syria alleged in May 1967 that Israel was massing troops along the border, Egypt mobilized its forces and demanded the withdrawal of the U.N. Emergency Force from the Israel-Egypt cease-fire lines of the 1956 conflict. The U.N. peacekeepers left on May 19, and three days later Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping. On May 30, Jordan signed a mutual-defense treaty with Egypt and Syria, and other Arab states, including Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria, sent troop contingents to join the Arab coalition against Israel.
With every sign of a pan-Arab attack in the works, Israel’s government on June 4 authorized its armed forces to launch a surprise preemptive strike. On June 5, the Six-Day War began with an Israeli assault against Arab air power. In a brilliant attack, the Israeli air force caught the formidable Egyptian air force on the ground and largely destroyed the Arabs’ most powerful weapon. The Israeli air force then turned against the lesser air forces of Jordan, Syria, and Iraq, and by the end of the day had decisively won air superiority.
Beginning on June 5, Israel focused the main effort of its ground forces against Egypt’s Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. In a lightning attack, the Israelis burst through the Egyptian lines and across the Sinai. The Egyptians fought resolutely but were outflanked by the Israelis and decimated in lethal air attacks. By June 8, the Egyptian forces were defeated, and Israel held the Gaza Strip and the Sinai to the Suez Canal.
Meanwhile, to the east of Israel, Jordan began shelling its Jewish neighbor on June 5, provoking a rapid and overwhelming response from Israeli forces. Israel overran the West Bank and on June 7 captured the Old City of East Jerusalem.
To the north, Israel bombarded Syria’s fortified Golan Heights for two days before launching a tank and infantry assault on June 9. After a day of fierce fighting, the Syrians began a retreat from the Golan Heights on June 10. On June 11, a U.N.-brokered cease-fire took effect throughout the three combat zones, and the Six-Day War was at an end. Israel had more than doubled its size in the six days of fighting.
The U.N. Security Council called for a withdrawal from all the occupied regions, but Israel declined, permanently annexing East Jerusalem and setting up military administrations in the occupied territories. Israel let it be known that Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai would be returned in exchange for Arab recognition of the right of Israel to exist and guarantees against future attack. Arab leaders, stinging from their defeat, met in August to discuss the future of the Middle East. They decided upon a policy of no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel, and made plans to zealously defend the rights of Palestinian Arabs in the occupied territories.
The Yom Kippur War of 1973 was the last full war fought between Israel and it Arabs neighbors. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the holiest day of prayer and fasting in the Jewish calendar. The Yom Kippur War is also known as the October War. At the time of Yom Kippur, Israel was led by Golda Meir and Egypt by Anwar Sadat. The Yom Kippur War started with a surprise Arab attack on Israel on Saturday 6th October 1973. On this day, Egyptian and Syrian military forces launched an attack knowing that the military of Israel would be participating in the religious celebrations associated with Yom Kippur. Therefore, their guard would temporarily be dropped.
It became clear in the hours after the attack that the Arabs had surprised Israeli forces and the Israeli state faced the greatest threat to its survival since the original war of independence three decades earlier. Along the border with Syria, along the so-called Golan Heights, 180 Israeli tanks faced 1,400 Syrian tanks supplied by the Soviet Union; likewise Egypt crossed the Suez with 80,000 soldiers facing little Israeli opposition.
In the days following the Yom Kippur attacks Israel suffered a number of setbacks, and Washington became increasingly concerned. Nixon alone concluded that the US must step in to back Israel against Arab forces whose primary military supplier was the Soviet Union. The United State employed “Operation Nickel Grass.” Over the course of the airlift 567 missions were flown, delivering over 22,000 tons of supplies, and an additional 90,000 tons were delivered to Israel by sea. The 1973 war became more than just necessary to save the Jewish state; it became a struggle between the world’s preeminent Super Powers.
The Israeli forces were initially swiftly overwhelmed. Within two days, the Egyptians had crossed the Suez Canal and moved up to 15 miles inland of the most advanced Israeli troops in the Sinai. Syrian troops advanced by the same distance into the strategic Golan Heights in north Israel. By the end of October 7th, the military signs were ominous for Israel.
However, on October 8th, Israeli forces, bolstered by called-up reserves, counter-attacked in the Sinai. They pushed back the Egyptian military and crossed the Suez Canal south of Ismailia. Here, the Israelis used the Suez-Cairo road to advance towards the Egyptian capital, Cairo, and got to within 65 miles of it.
The Israelis experienced similar success in the Golan Heights where the Syrian forces were pushed back and Israel re-captured lost land. Using the main road from Tiberias to Damascus, the Israelis got to within 35 miles of the Syrian capital.
On October 24th, a cease-fire was organised by the United Nations. The United Nations sent its own peacekeepers to the highly volatile regions affected by the fighting. Between January and March 1974, Israeli and Egyptian forces disengaged along the Suez Canal region. Here, the Israelis managed to keep control over the strategic Sinai Desert – an area that allowed Israel a buffer to ensure any fighting there did not spill over into Israel itself. In the Golan Heights, 1,200 United Nations troops were sent to keep the peace there in May 1974. They effectively formed a United Nations buffer between Syria and Israel.
Israel in both war were outnumbered by its Arab neighbors. In the 1967 war they toke the innovative to strike first and ended that war in seven days. Their decisive action show there wiliness to keep their county safe from impending attack from their Arab neighbors. The October War of 1973 turn in to be a different war the Israelis were caught sleeping out number and out gunned with their guard down putting Israel in a precarious position. I was impressed by the Israel army. I was station on the Flag ship for the sixth fleet we were monitoring the situation during the war. In the beginning of the war it did not look good for Israel. There was a great concern for the state of Israel being defeated. With Israel calling up their reservist and the United State resupplying arms to Israel turn the tie of the war and preserving the state of Israel.
The American Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissenger, acted as a peace broker between Egypt and Israel. In September 1975, Egypt and Israel signed an interim agreement which declared their willingness to settle declared their willingness to settle their differences by peaceful means rather than by military.
Egypt would eventually negotiate and make peace with Israel, and in 1982 the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in exchange for full diplomatic recognition of Israel. Egypt and Jordan later gave up their respective claims to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to the Palestinians, who beginning in the 1990s opened “land for peace” talks with Israel. The East Bank territory has since been returned to Jordan. In 2005, Israel left the Gaza Strip. Still, a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement remains elusive, as does an agreement with Syria to return the Golan Heights.
Two lessons were learned by the warring parties in the October 1973 war. On Israel’s perspective is that they must keep vigilant and not let their guard down. Israel will fight to the end they have everything to lose if they do not. Egypt and Jordan came to the conclusion that full diplomatic relationship with Israel is better than war.
Cairo Egypt after the October 1973 war a hope for peace in the Middle East.