Yom Kippur War reminds us not to take Israel for granted

The JC Leader, 6 October 2023


Golda Meir (1898 - 1978), Prime Minister of Israel, speaking at a press conference at the Churchill Hotel in London, during the Socialist International meeting, UK, 12th November 1973. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

October 05, 2023 16:29

This Friday marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War. Israel had faced moments of existential crisis before 1973, not least the War of Independence itself. But it remains a sobering thought that Israel’s very survival was under threat within many of our lifetimes.

The picture today looks very different, with peace deals and the Abraham Accords especially the prospect of a deal with Saudi Arabia. So it is easy to take Israel’s existence for granted. That would be a mistake.

Israel is a miracle of the modern world, a haven for Jews in our historic homeland and — despite the current political upheaval — a beacon of democracy and tolerance in the region.

Although for many it now seems impossible to imagine a world without it, existential threats remain.

Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terror, has threatened to wipe Israel off the map and its nuclear programme is a direct threat to Israel’s existence.

It was far from inevitable that Israel would win the Yom Kippur War. It needed the support of its allies — specifically, arms shipments from the US — for Israel to prevail. That same support is needed today to counter the threat from Iran.

Instead, shockingly, the Biden administration appears bent on appeasement. As James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, put it to the Conservative Friends of Israel conference reception this week, Israel’s security is our security. A secure Israel means a secure West. And an Israel under threat from Iran means the West under threat.

Israel is not perfect. No country is. The Yom Kippur War was a disaster that should never have happened. But this anniversary reminds us not of Israel’s imperfections but of its wonders and its strengths.

October 05, 2023 16:29

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