The Lessons of the Yom Kippur War

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


Yom Kippur


On October the 24th, 1973 an Israeli tank force, supported by infantry, came within 62 miles of the capital of Egypt, Cairo. There was nothing between that Israeli force and that big city that could have prevented the planting of the Star of David flag on the headquarters of the Arab world. It was only that on that day the United States and the United Nations and the Soviet Union, using various effective threats, saved the Arab aggressors from facing a well deserved humiliation and utter defeat.

Eighteen days earlier, on the sixth of October, the day of Yom Kippur, a vast Egyptian army, supplied by the Soviet Union, attacked Israel from the south while their allies, the Syrians, with the help of Iraq and Jordan, attacked from the north and west. It appeared at first that Israel could not withstand this onslaught and would be defeated. The Arab plan was to overrun the Jewish state and, Nazi style, kill the entire Jewish population. At that time the United Nations made no effort to halt that invasion. When, however, Israel, with the help of newly arrived American weapons, defeated the Egyptians in the Sinai and the Syrians on the Golan Heights, the United Nations demanded an immediate end to the fighting. The vultures at the United Nations were terribly disappointed that they could not enjoy another Holocaust.

The reason for Israel’s belated but decisive victory lay first and foremost in the enormous courage and fighting ability of the Israeli army. Under the leadership of Ariel Sharon, Israel defeated an Egyptian tank force in the Sinai and then crossed the Suez Canal. This victory cost Israel an enormous number of dead and wounded . 15,000 Israelis died in that war and 35,000 were wounded. In American terms that would be the equivalent of bringing 750,000 soldiers home in body bags.

The second reason for Israel's final victory was the military aid given the Israeli armed forces by the Nixon administration. The weapons furnished Israel came from the United States bases in Germany. Without these weapons Israel would surely have been defeated. It is therefore to the everlasting credit of President Richard Nixon that he saved five million Jewish lives. It is highly doubtful that a president of the Democratic Party would have or could have done the same since the Democrats are infested by anti-Jewish hate mongers such as the Reverend Al Sharpton, Representative Cynthia McKinney, Senator Hillary Clinton and a host of others who find nothing wrong with the murder of Jews but cry crocodile tears because some Palestinian Arabs are inconvenienced by a wall Israel was forced to set up so as to prevent murderers from entering the country.  The lesson learned from the Yom Kippur war of 1973 is at least this: that Jews who cannot protect themselves from murderous hatred cannot expect anyone else to to do their fighting for them.

  In 1882, long before the Yom Kippur war, a Russian Jew by the name of Leon Pinsker wrote an essay entitled auto-emancipation. Pinsker was a physician in Odessa. His essay was translated into every European language and into Hebrew. Pinsker denounced the Messianism which led so many Jews to believe that they would somehow be rescued by supernatural forces. He demanded that Jews learn to defend themselves and to give up diploma chasing for learning how to fight. In 1882 Pinsker called for self liberation and concluded his essay with the phrase: “Help yourselves, and God will help you!”

Now, on Yom Kippur 2005, it is appropriate for us to remember Yom Kippur 1973. While the people of Israel learned from that experience that they must fight for themselves and not rely on others, it is our duty as American Jews, far from the danger faced by our Israeli brethren, to applaud the current President of the United States, George W. Bush, in his unwavering support of Israel. The Republican Jewish Coalition does just that.  American Jews need to discard the old knee-jerk habit of voting automatically for the party of that arch Jew hater Franklin Roosevelt, who said at a conference held in 1944 in Casablanca that he could well understand the hatred the Germans had for the Jews, and that he would see to it that the number of Jews allowed in influential positions in a post-war Europe would be extremely limited.

Jews who support and vote for the enemies of Israel are committing a terrible sin. Let us then make a Yom Kippur resolution to the effect that we will do everything we can to preserve the lives of our brethren in Israel who depend on us to maintain a government in this country which will continue to defend the right of the Jewish people to survive, bimhayrow, ve yamainoo,

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Football & American Identity (2005) &  Youth Culture and the Generation Gap (2005) with Dr. Ursula A. Falk.

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