Israeli soldiers who served in Yom Kippur War are 'source of inspiration' for serving troops, says IDF chief

Hertzi Halevi penned a letter to IDF service members on the 50th anniversary of the conflict


Israeli soldiers who served in the Yom Kippur War “are a source of inspiration” for serving troops in the present day, the IDF chief of staff has said. 

In a letter addressed to IDF service members in which he marks the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Herzi Halevi also praised “acts of heroism” displayed by troops during the conflict. 

Recalling the start of the war, which claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 Israeli soldiers, Halevi wrote: “In the early afternoon of Yom Kippur in 1973, the militaries of Egypt and Syria launched a coordinated attack on Israel on two fronts.

"Within a short period of time, the Egyptian forces established themselves on the eastern side of the Suez Canal, and the Syrians were overlooking the Kinneret.”

He added: “At the end of about three weeks of bloody battles, the IDF managed to stop the larger enemy forces, transfer the fighting to the enemy's territory, and defeat them.

"The war, which started by surprise, ended when the IDF threatened the capitals of Egypt and Syria and imposed a ceasefire on them."

Halevi went on to say the lack of warning prior to the attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria on October 6, 1973 was “the worst failure in the history of the State of Israel.”

He explained: “Its roots are in arrogance, lack of understanding of the abundant intelligence information, and disregard for the enemy. 

“The lessons we took from the war remind us of our obligation to be modest, and the order of readiness - in strengthening, updating the concept of operating and training the mandatory and reserve soldiers.”

Halevi added: “The many acts of heroism during the war in the face of enemy fire are a source of inspiration for us. 

“Adherence to the mission of the soldiers of the IDF and its commanders, their courage, and their dedication, are what won the war. 

“The reserve soldiers who left the synagogues and rushed to report to service during the war proved that the unity of the military is the key to overcoming the difficulties in situations.”

Halevi also highlighted Israel’s military advancements and achievements in the 50 years since the conflict ended.

He concluded: “Fifty years have passed. Today's IDF is a strong military with advanced capabilities, operating successfully in all arenas against a variety of enemies and threats. Our strength comes from the combination of air, land, and naval forces with intelligence efforts… (as well as) professionalism, dedication, and courage.

“Our enemies should know that the spirit of the IDF soldiers and the unity of its ranks do not fall short of those of the soldiers who fought in the Yom Kippur War and that the IDF is as ready as ever for a multi-arena military conflict if it is required.”

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