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.