An updated edition that sheds new light on one of the most dramatic reversals of military fortune in modern history.
The easing of Israeli military censorship after four decades has enabled Abraham Rabinovich to offer fresh insights into this fiercest of Israel-Arab conflicts. A surprise Arab attack on two fronts on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, with Israel’s reserves un-mobilized, triggered apocalyptic visions in Israel, euphoria in the Arab world, and fraught debates on both sides. Rabinovich, who covered the war for The Jerusalem Post, draws on extensive interviews and primary source material to shape his enthralling narrative. We learn of two Egyptian nationals, working separately for the Mossad, who supplied Israel with key information that helped change the course of the war; of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s proposal for a nuclear “demonstration” to warn off the Arabs; and of Chief of Staff David Elazar’s conclusion on the fifth day of battle that Israel could not win. Newly available transcripts enable us to follow the decision-making process in real time from the prime minister’s office to commanders studying maps in the field. After almost overrunning the Golan Heights, the Syrian attack is broken in desperate battles. And as Israel regains its psychological balance, General Ariel Sharon leads a nighttime counterattack across the Suez Canal through a narrow hole in the Egyptian line -- the turning point of the war.
Rabinovich, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, has researched thoroughly and written with clarity, balance and compassion for the victims of a war much larger and fiercer than most Western readers have believed. Anwar Sadat emerges as a major player, having reformed the Egyptian Army and evolved a national strategy of limited objectives. The Israelis, Rabinovich argues, then played into Sadat's hands by intelligence failures that delayed their mobilization, gross underestimation of Arab fighting qualities, and not reckoning on new enemy weapons (the SA-6 antiaircraft missile and the Sagger antitank missile) that would make the Israeli Air Force and armor-heavy ground troops vulnerable. The result was a war that began with serious Israeli losses and major Arab advances, in the Sinai and on the Golan Heights, within miles of Israeli civilians. Sheer hard fighting by the Israelis at the front limited the damage, however, and in spite of leadership conflicts and a few outright failures that Rabinovich dramatizes with flair, a viable Israeli strategy supported by improved tactics gradually emerged. The result was a victory for Israel that was actually more devastating than the Six-Day War, with the added effect of leading to a partial peace with Egypt and later Syria and Jordan. Rabinovich may overpraise Henry Kissinger, and he may underplay the Israeli Air Force, but his book covers everything else at a level equally useful to both the newcomer and the experienced student of the subject.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Good read - war is Hell
Good read of a book. It flows. Questions of good and evil not so much addressed. Arabs were evil to attack on a Jewish holy day, not addressed was how dealing with dictator non democratically elected person like Sadat has led to disaster for Egyptians and to terrorism against USA.
Be blessed and no more war!