There wasn’t a single person in Israel who was prepared for the Yom Kippur War. On Friday، the previous day، there wasn’t a single word in the press about what could happen the following day. People did their usual things، sitting in cafés and passing the time with housework. They went to sleep without making plans for Shabbat—it was Yom Kippur، after all، and the holy day could not be desecrated—and children rode their bikes on the cities’ streets.
The surprise arrived on the afternoon of Yom Kippur، as if from a different planet، and put Israel and the IDF in a very difficult situation. The IDF was quite close to announcing its defeat and preparing to defend Tel Aviv. The road between the Suez Canal and the neighborhood of Florentine was open to traffic.
The people who still don’t believe in a possible IDF defeat say there’s nothing to worry about—we have a certain number of nuclear warheads، according to foreign reports، we have a certain number of tanks، a certain number of planes، including the most modern planes، and we even have submarines which will turn into a main weapon. But these people are talking as if the Yom Kippur War never happened، and we might want to send them to hang out with senior IDF commanders، to hear their opinion on Operation Protective Edge as well.
We’re living in a fool’s paradise، and the entire picture could change within an hour or two. One order from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah، and the north will be consumed by fire. Another order from the Hamas leader in Gaza، Yahya Sanwar، could leave destruction and wreckage in the Gaza vicinity communities and in nearby towns.
The enemy، in the form of Hamas and Hezbollah fighters، is preparing for D-Day. And what are we doing? Are the war reserve stores full? Will the equipment in them suffice? Are the tanks outfitted? Are the fuel tanks full? These are not only theoretical questions.
The IDF suffered a serious blow on the first day of the Yom Kippur War and found itself completely unprepared، apart from a few units here and there. All the different critics share the opinion that the IDF was properly surprised and was unprepared for war. This is stated in a report prepared by Knesset Member Ofer Shelah of the Yesh Atid party. The man is very familiar with the defense establishment، and he prepared a report pointing to strategic and operative failures.
Since completing the report، Shelah has been running from one media outlet to another in a bid to prepare the public and the army for war، but his voice is like an echo in the desert. It’s not the most important issue for a public debate these days، and the media isn’t giving it too much attention. The army has taken the report more seriously، trying to make some appropriate changes here and there—but at the end of the day، this report will remain a mere reminder of good intentions، of good deeds، which were unsuccessful.
***Eitan Haber an Israeli analyst and journalist
And then the deafening air-raid siren will arrive at 3 pm، like on the Yom Kippur of 1973. A successful war points to proper preparations، and the result of the war is determined long before the first shot is fired. So what are we waiting for? A siren?