Forty years ago on Yom Kippur – October 6, 1973 – Egypt and Syria launched a coordinated surprise attack against Israel, starting the Yom Kippur War.
That day, the holiest and most solemn of the Jewish calendar, the IDF Spokesperson announced that at approximately 2:00 p.m., “Egyptian and Syrian forces began an attack in both Sinai and the Golan Heights. Our forces are operating against the attackers.”
Egyptian troops and armor crossed the Suez Canal in the south of Israel, and Syrian forces entered the Golan Heights in Israel’s north. After three weeks of heavy fighting, the IDF overcame initial Egyptian and Syrian gains and advanced to the western side of the Suez Canal and to the vicinity of the Syrian capital of Damascus.
The war lasted until October 24th, 1973, when a ceasefire was declared.
Despite Israel’s military supremacy, the war took a great toll on all participating countries. During those three weeks of war, 2,691 IDF soldiers lost their lives defending the country.
Negotiations in the following years led to disengagement agreements under the terms of which Israel withdrew from parts of the territories captured by the IDF during the Yom Kippur War.
The Yom Kippur War was the third time in less than three decades since its establishment that Israel was forced to fight a war for its very existence. Once again, Israel’s soldiers proved with their courage, training and tenacity that nothing would stop them from protecting their homeland.