Israel Musings November 2, 2013: Netanyahu urges pressure on Iran during Yom Kippur War 40th anniversary ceremony



Netanyahu urges pressure on Iran during Yom Kippur War 40th anniversary ceremony

November 2, 2013

Iran took center stage at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon all spoke at…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 15, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at Special Knesset Session Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War



Address by PM Netanyahu Special Knesset Session Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War

Source: PMO, 10-15-13

יום שלישי י”א חשון תשע”ד
Click Here to Enlarge Picture
Photo by GPO


The Yom Kippur War was a time of trial for the State of Israel, which found itself in a fateful battle against those who sought its destruction. The blow that we suffered in the first few days necessitated the mobilizing of all forces in the war effort.

With talks about the “destruction of the Third Temple” in the background, the soldiers of the IDF demonstrated unparalleled bravery on both the southern and northern fronts. Those who forced us into a war we did not seek encountered national unity and the willpower of a determined nation. Within a few days, the IDF soldiers succeeded in turning the tables: we moved from defense to offence, and by the time the cease fire was announced, the IDF was already on its way to Cairo and Damascus.

Today, forty years after the attack that sent shockwaves throughout the country, we salute the heroic soldiers who rescued us from the traps of complacency, vanity and misconception.

Distinguished guests,

The war left a painful wound in our souls and a deep scar in our flesh. The bottom line, however, is that we won a major victory. The lessons of that war have remained with us for the past four decades, and they are interwoven into the lessons we have accumulated from all the other wars and battles we fought.

The first lesson is to never underestimate the threats and never underestimate the enemy. Never ignore the warning signs. One cannot assume that our enemies will necessarily act in accordance with our assessments. They can be surprising and unpredictable. We paid the price of repression and self-deception, and we will never make that mistake again. Israel will always stand guard.

The second lesson is that the option of a preemptive strike cannot be automatically dismissed. Not every situation necessitates such a strike and all options must be weighed carefully, but there are times when the fear of an international response is diminished in comparison with the price we could pay for absorbing a strategic strike for which we will have to respond late, maybe too late.

A preemptive strike is one of the most difficult decisions a government is required to make, because it will never be able to show what would happen had it not taken action. At the same time, the major difference between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War lies first and foremost in the fact that in the Six Day War we initiated a preemptive strike to extricate ourselves from the noose imposed on us by our enemies, while in the Yom Kippur War, despite the warning signs, the government chose to absorb the full force of the enemy’s attack.

The third lesson is the strategic importance of buffer zones. Our presence in the Golan and the Sinai enabled us to prevent infiltration deep into the territory of Israel. Following this experience, no one could comprehend forfeiting these buffer zones, even in peace arrangements. Therefore, it was clear that in the peace negotiations with Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula would have to be demilitarized. Such demilitarization, which has existed for almost 40 years, is essential. Without it, I doubt that the peace would hold. This demilitarization has been in place for almost 40 years, since the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt.

And there is a fourth lesson as well. Peace is achieved through strength. In the Yom Kippur War, despite the enemy’s excellent opening terms, our neighbors learned that they could not defeat us by force. This understanding is a result of the war. Five years later, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, signed a peace treaty. A peace agreement would later be reached with Jordan, and we are making genuine efforts to achieve peace with our Palestinian neighbors.

Peace can only be achieved if the hostile countries around us understand that Israel is powerful enough and that it will not disappear and will not be uprooted. The Yom Kippur War changed the face of Israeli society, necessitating a very painful and ongoing soul-searching. The failures, the debacles and the weaknesses entailed an in-depth and fundamental correction. This is an ongoing effort and we work on it constantly. It is first and foremost because of that war, but as I said earlier, in retrospect, Israel emerged stronger from the war.

Forty years ago there were less than three and a half million people living here. Today, we are more than eight million. Our economy expanded, and it is stable and prosperous. Just to clarify – our population has more than doubled, our economy is 25 times larger. It is as if you took the Israeli economy during the Yom Kippur War and placed 25 such economies side by side – this is the State of Israel today. Israel is a creative and advanced state, with a free and vibrant society, a society of remarkable achievements. And we continue to move forward and reach new heights. Our greatest achievement, however, was gained during the agony and despair of that terrible attack on Yom Kippur. Sporadic rumors about the falling of friends and acquaintances turned into a massive flow, and all forces needed to be mobilized to bear the terrible grief.

My brother Yoni participated in the battles on the Golan Heights. I wish to read you a portion of a letter he wrote to my parents, the first letter after the fights: “It was undoubtedly the most difficult war we have ever known. It was, at the very least, more intense and more terrifying, with more casualties, more successes and more failures than the battles and wars I have known. But it is because of the initial failures – failures in the military assessment, in the interpretation of the intelligence, in war doctrines, in political assessments and in the complacency of the entire nation – that the victory was so great. The army is strong and good and it has proven its abilities beyond any doubt. And when I say the army”, he wrote, “I mean not only the regular army, but the entire people. The soldiers succeeded, at a very heavy cost, to ward off the enemies, but it is the people who won the war”.

He was right, but the price we paid was unbearably high, the highest since the War of Independence. More than 2,100 of our finest sons fell in the Yom Kippur War, and thousands of others were injured. Some still bear the scars, some are with us here today.

Today, the 11th of Cheshvan, marks the passing of Rachel the Matriarch, the mother of the nation, who shares in the agony of her sons in their time of trouble. The Prophet’s promise to Rachel echoes in our ears: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for there is reward for your accomplishment.”

We mourn the loss of our sons and our friends and we send our best wishes for recovery to the wounded. There is reward for their actions. Thanks to their courage and perseverance, our independence and the existence of our nation from generation to generation were secured. May their memory be blessed.

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 15, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the Ceremony Marking 40 Years Since the Yom Kippur War



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Ceremony Marking 40 Years Since the Yom Kippur War

Source: PMO, 9-15-13

יום ראשון י”א תשרי תשע”ד

Photo by GPO


With humility and gratitude, we pay tribute to the heroism of the fighters of the Yom Kippur War. Thousands of our finest sons and daughters were killed in that war, thousands more were injured and some still bear their wounds today. So too do thousands of bereaved families carry the scar of their loss every day of their lives.

My brothers and sisters, I know your pain, your hearts. The hearts of the people are with you on this day and every day. A people’s mettle is greatly tested on turbulent days of failure and grief, when it appears as if the line of our lives may be cut. It was like this on Yom Kippur 40 years ago, when the sounding of the siren pierced the holiest of days for the Jewish people.

When the war broke out, I was an Israeli student in the United States. Like many other Israelis who studied abroad, I asked to return home quickly, to join my unit and defend the country. For too many who flew to Israel with me, it was their last journey. We came home to a difficult reality: the initiative was in the hands of the enemy; the leadership had failed in its estimation of the enemy and the actions required to stop them in time. For some of us, it seemed as if we were fighting for the very existence of the Third Temple. As one, without debate or hesitation, the reserve soldiers mobilized and joined the regular soldiers at the front. Together, with supreme bravery, they pushed backed the enemy swarms that flowed over the sands of the Sinai and the basalt fields of the Golan Heights. They understood well that the fate of Israel was dependent on each and every one of them. The IDF, under the leadership of the Chief of General Staff, David Eliezer Dado, fought back vigorously and took the offensive. Within three weeks, we were at the gates of Cairo and Damascus, and there was no military force that could stop us.

My late brother, Yoni, who fought in many battles during the war, wrote to my parents only weeks after its end, “It is hard to describe how tightly clenched the fingers are in the steel glove during days of pogroms. How strong the nation is and how great it is during times of crisis”. He added, “Don’t forget: force, justice and a decisive decision are with us and that is a great deal”.

The resilience of the people held then and it is always needed, every day and every hour, even today, but we cannot be satisfied with that. The duty of the people’s leadership is to be realistic and not get carried away by illusions or false hopes. It must see the entirety of the strategic arena. It must be ready at all times. Sometimes it must make the difficult choice between bad and worse, and it must ensure the existence of the State of Israel. This existence rests not only on our leadership’s capabilities, but also on the crushing force of the offensive, on letting the enemy know that the cost we will exact for their aggression against us will be unbearable. This is the true foundation of our existence.

The strategic situation has changed a great deal since the Yom Kippur War: we signed peace accords with Egypt and Jordan and we are trying to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. None of this would have happened without our neighbors’ understanding that we cannot be defeated on the battlefield.

We are now in a new era – at the height of an upheaval in our region unprecedented since the establishment of the State. We are faced with new threats – missiles, cyber warfare and weapons of mass destruction. We hope that the understandings reached between the United States and Russia regarding Syrian chemical weapons will bear fruit and that they be judged by their results – the full destruction of all chemical weapons stores held by the Syrian regime, weapons it has used against its own civilians.

Photo by GPO Click Here to Enlarge Picture
Photo by GPO

We must also judge the results of the efforts of the international community to stop Iran’s nuclear armament. Here as well, it is not words that will determine the outcome, but rather actions and results. In any case, Israel must be ready and willing to defend itself by itself against any enemy, and this ability and willingness is as important today as ever.

Forty years after the Yom Kippur War, Israel is stronger than ever. At the same time, we remember that the true foundation of our strength was and remains the spirit of our people, the same spirit of the warriors who fell in battle and of those who returned from the war. This is the spirit of an ancient people which returned to its homeland, which holds on to it with all its might and will defend its one and only country with all its brains and courage.

In the days between Yom Kippur and Sukkoth, as we remember the brave soldiers who died defending us, we bow our heads and find comfort in the words of the prophet Amos:

“On that day I will raise up the fallen shelter of David; I will repair their breaches and raise up its ruins, and I will build it up as in days of old.”

May the memories of the fallen be blessed

Israel Political Brief September 15, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Discusses Syria Arms Deal at Yom Kippur War 40th Anniversary Ceremony



Netanyahu: Efforts to disarm Syria, stop nuclear Iran will be judged by results

Source: Haaratz, 9-15-13

In address at memorial marking 40 years since Yom Kippur War, Netanyahu also says Syria deal must yield ‘complete destruction’ of chemical weapons arsenal.

Yom Kippur war 2

President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister MosheYa’alon at a ceremony marking 40 years since the Yom Kippur War. Photo by Noam Moshkovitz

Noam Moshkovitz

President Shimon Peres speaking at a memorial marking 40 years since the Yom Kippur War. Photo by Noam Moshkovitz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel hoped a U.S.-Russian deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons would result in the “complete destruction” of the arsenal, and urged the international community to apply the same efforts to destroying Iran’s nuclear program.

“We hope the understandings reached between the United States and Russia regarding the Syrian chemical weapons will yield results,” he said in a speech at a memorial ceremony for Israeli soldiers killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War….READ MORE

Israel Brief September 12, 2013: The Yom Kippur War: Forty Years Later



The Yom Kippur War: Forty Years Later

Source:, 9-12-13

In the summer of 1973, weeks before the surprise outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, urgently requested that thousands of Jewish children gather at the Western Wall and other locations across….READ MORE

Israel Brief September 9, 2013: IDF Seminar Marks 40th Anniversary of Yom Kippur War



IDF Seminar Marks 40th Anniversary of Yom Kippur War

Source: Arutz Sheva, 9-9-13

A seminar was held today (Monday) to mark the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. The event, which was hosted by the Military Colleges at the Palmachim base was attended by President Shimon Peres, Minister of Defense Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon….READ MORE

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