The Yom Kippur war was the most traumatic event for Israeli citizens since the Holocaust. 40 years had already passed since that war but the memories are still painful.
The most immediate threat during the Yom Kippur war was from the Syrian army which overran the Israeli positions in the first few hours of the war. At the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur holiday, the Syrian army was mostly unopposed and on its way into northern Israel (not too far from my hometown at the time). Over the years I read many books full of logical and military explanations why the Syrian army failed to meet its objective; none of them convinced me. Many people see Israel’s victory in the 1967 war as a sign of G_d’s support of Israel. I think that for many Israelis, overcoming the horror of the first few days of the Yom Kippur War and turning around an almost sure defeat into an overwhelming victory is just as much sign of G_d’s support.
Nonetheless, the war’s aftershock lasted for many years; it is always a topic of conversation for Israelis from my generation, especially when the Yom Kippur Holiday arrives. To understand how Israelis feel about the war, one should watch the movie “Kippur”. It is available on Netflix. This is the only movie made in Israel about the war. It was first shown in 2000 (twenty seven years after the war ended). The movie is not about combat or about great victory; it describes the experience of a small reserve medevac (military medical evacuation) team. The movie is based on the real-life experience of the filmmaker. The movie is in Hebrew; however, the dialogs are few and short so it’s easy to follow the movie while reading the English subtitles. The movie is not too graphic. It is not a feel-good movie. If there is one word I could use to describe how I felt when the movie ended, I would say; sadness.
We are just about to celebrate the 2013 Yom Kippur holiday. I’m thinking about today’s war talks around the world regarding the imminent attack by US forces on Syria and the possible Syrian retaliatory attack on Israel, using weapon of mass destruction. I pray that this time Israel won’t experience such a catastrophic event and that G_d intervention (real or presumed) won’t be needed.