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The Possible Preventive Strike in the Yom Kippur War (II)

Despite their obvious dominance in numbers, the Soviets, by the grace and miracle of the Almighty, lost this battle in the most pathetic way.

04.01.2023 289 (0)
The Possible Preventive Strike in the Yom Kippur War (II)
The Possible Preventive Strike in the Yom Kippur War (II)

The Last Months of the 1967 Egyptian-Israeli War

As in the earlier part of this article was explained, the cease-fire that ended the 1967 war with Egypt (the so-called “War of Attrition”) was a major strategic mistake. In the Yom Kippur War which followed, Israel sacrificed the lives of its best and brightest children. The anti-aircraft guns deployed by the Egyptians in the closest proximity to the Suez Canal seriously undermined the performance of our air forces in providing air support to the ground troops. As a result, the few regular IDF forces stationed on the Israeli side of the canal were hit by a crushing assault of some 90,000 enemy soldiers in the first waves of the Egyptian attack.

The first part also described in detail how the Lubavitcher Rebbe, King Moshiach SHLITA, had strongly objected against the signing of the cease-fire agreement. He strongly insisted that it would lead to the immediate deployment of Egyptian anti-aircraft missile batteries to the Suez Canal, with terrible consequences in the future.

Unfortunately, the Israeli government was irresponsible in allowing the Egyptians to achieve the unprecedented militarily success of placing a huge military formation of about fifty surface-to-air missile batteries near the canal.

During the Yom Kippur War, many Egyptian documents fell into Israeli hands as war trophies, from which it became clear that the deployment of these batteries to the canal during the “War of Attrition” was a top priority for the Egyptians.

The leaders of the Egyptian army were well informed about the power of the Israeli air force, which hit them hard in the “War of Attrition”. So they decided to carry out an ambitious project called “Amal” (“hope” in Arabic).

Their general plan involved the integration of almost all Egyptian military and civilian forces, including construction, engineering and project units, as well as naval and land transport. All these resources were brought together for one purpose — the step-by-step deployment of missile batteries from deep inside Egypt to the Suez Canal.

The project was developed with the participation of Soviet specialists who were in Egypt as part of a joint military unit sent as part of Operation Caucasus for assistance against the Israeli air force.

In this massive engineering operation, something never done before in Egypt, the Egyptian army engaged thousands of builders, workers and technicians to construct hundreds of reinforced concrete trenches to fortify the missile batteries. The fortifications were designed to protect the batteries from air raids for as long as possible. The entire network of trenches was also carefully planned in such a way that some batteries could cover the “dead zones” of the others, creating together a huge indestructible defense system.

The Egyptians were aimed to build these fortifications as quickly as possible. Therefore, their construction involved many thousands of trucks and tractors, arriving, usually at night, in huge columns to the construction sites, where many concreted trenches were simultaneously installed. All the trenches served as positions for the anti-aircraft missile batteries, which for the first time seriously challenged our air force, although it had previously completely destroyed all the SA-2 surface-to-air missile batteries (Soviet S-75 “Dvina” mobile anti-aircraft batteries) stationed in the area around the canal.

The Egyptian air force was ordered to provide air cover for all this huge traffic heading east toward the Suez Canal, while the navy and artillery were ordered to attack Israeli targets, thus distracting IDF forces so that they could not interfere with the progress of the project. In addition, hundreds of mobile anti-aircraft guns accompanied the traffic of convoys with vehicles and missiles, protecting them on their way to the construction sites.

The great Egyptian project, involving almost the entire transport system of the country, with trains, ships, and cargo ships, began in mid-May 1970, about two and a half months before the cease-fire agreement.

Soon the unprecedented movement on Egyptian territory was spotted by the Israeli intelligence forces. All the power of our air force was directed at the most dangerous, extremely long operation, which was desperately needed to break the Soviet-Egyptian plan.

There was no choice

Israel understood that if the Egyptian efforts would not be disabled, the powerful defensive complex created by the enemy would become a very serious obstacle to the actions of our air force and therefore a huge threat to the small ground troops holding the “Bar Lev Line” along the Suez Canal, and a major key to Egyptian success in the future war.

The air command decided to fully use all available “Phantoms” (two-seat third-generation tactical long-range fighters — McDonnell-Douglas F-4 “Phantom-2”) and “Skyhawks” (American light attack aircraft — Douglas A-4).

Carrying a different scale of bombs — from very heavy (almost two-ton bombs) to much lighter ones, air groups of several dozens of jets started their attacks immediately.

Wave after wave they bombed Egyptian fortifications, huge transport columns, anti-aircraft guns, clusters of engineering equipment and building materials.

By the grace and miracles of the Almighty on the first day of these attacks not a single Israeli airplane was shot down, while the concrete trenches, numerous pieces of equipment and anti-aircraft guns of the enemy were heavily destroyed. In addition, an Egyptian fighter jet was also shot down.

However, Egypt was not willing to stop its attempts. Egyptian President Nasser, may his name be erased, was extremely focused on the importance of this project, and these were certainly his efforts to engage almost all of his country’s resources into this operation. Contractors, engineering companies, vehicles and many thousands of workers continued to arrive day and night to the canal area. Israeli intelligence detected huge transport columns, loaded with equipment for earthworks and construction work, that were moving to the front line from hundreds of places at once.

Our air force continued to undermine the Soviet-Egyptian operation, and in the course of sustained bombing raids it destroyed hundreds of concrete trenches, attacked hundreds of transport columns, hit dozens of anti-aircraft batteries and shot down dozens of Egyptian fighter planes.

In the course of these attacks, new weapons were also successfully used, such as the cluster bombs made by the Israeli company “Rafael” (“Tal 1”), which Israel had to invent itself after the United States refused to supply us with these weapons.

The Soviet military units conducts a covert operation

After about a month of continuous Israeli attacks, the Soviets came to the embarrassing conclusion that the “Amal” plan was progressing too slowly. Although the Egyptians had managed to build fortifications in many places and even put batteries in them, it was clear that the process was far from complete. Therefore the Soviet specialists decided to take the initiative and, so to speak, “bypass” the Egyptians and aggressively push the entire set of missile and anti-aircraft guns to the canal all at once.

The enemy technics of disinformation and deception were highly developed by USSR. Even at the earliest stage of the “War of Attrition” the IDF military intelligence received information from the US and European special services about the existence of a special department in the KGB that was engaged in “ideological operations” — the dissemination of various sorts of disinformation to form international public opinion in favor of the USSR, the suppression of real Soviet intentions, the threatening of opponents and pushing its interests in the world.

This time the USSR organized a large-scale operation to mislead Israel and disguise its intentions from Israeli intelligence.

In fact, Tzemach Tzedek (the 3rd Lubavitcher Rebbe) is believed to have said that “the ruler of Russia,” who is one of the “seventy rulers of the world,” “benefits from lies”, which is explained in the following Chassidic story:

One day a Jewish soldier, who had escaped from the army to celebrate the holiday of Pesach, came to Tzemach Tzedek and was now afraid of the severe military punishment that awaited him.

Tzemach Tzedek immersed himself in thought for a short time, and then said to him with a joyful smile on his face: “You know what, the Russian ruler, after all, benefits from lies. So go to your commander and tell him that you have heard that your aged uncle is ill, and that it was your duty to visit him. And now you apologize for that. So the soldier told his commander, and the latter accepted his excuses...

All in all, it seems clear that among all government armies and secret organizations in the world, the Russian Soviet Army (and special services), both in the past and now, are known for their incredible skill at deception, lying, and disinformation...

In their covert operation, the Soviet military managed to deliver to a distance of 30-50 km from the canal a dozen advanced anti-aircraft batteries SA-2, and two more batteries SA-3 (C-125 “Neva”), which were quite advanced at the time. The Russians delivered these batteries in “electronic silence” — not using any radio transmitters or other means of communication, not using antennas or radar systems.

The batteries themselves were also well camouflaged

Only three days after the operation began, on June 29, the Israelis were stunned to discover the entire missile group deployed almost on the very border.

Israel was now confronted with a powerful network of batteries, not only defending each other, but already able to provide partial cover for the Egyptian troops near the canal.

The Israeli air force began to prepare against this new and extremely serious threat. Detailed aerial surveys were conducted and electronic warfare units were deployed. Following this, the combat squadrons confronted the intimidating missile system that emerged on our border from this secret Soviet operation against Israel.

By the grace of the Almighty our attacks were effective. We managed to destroy some of the batteries. However, for the first time our air force suffered casualties. Two “Phantom” airplanes were shot down on a single day. Moreover, most of the batteries remained in service. The Russians did their best to quickly patch up the holes in their defenses created by the destroyed batteries. So the concentration of Soviet anti-aircraft batteries was soon fully rebuilt. There were 14 or 15 of them again.

The Soviet desire to open a canal — the Rebbe’s opinion

Much has been written by both intelligence and military historians about the Soviet Union’s interests in entering the “War of Attrition” on the side of Egypt against Israel.

Clearly, all this was, of course, part of its confrontation with the West (which, in turn, supported Israel at the time), as well as a manifestation of Soviet expansionist ambitions, to support its main regional ally, and to strengthen its own position and sea and air forces in the Middle East (and in the Mediterranean in general) against the considerable American forces stationed in the region.

At the same time, it is interesting to note that in the Lubavitcher Rebbe SHLITA, King Moshiach adresses to Major General Aharon Yariv, the head of the Israeli military intelligence “AMAN” (in letters and personal meetings) he stressed another Soviet ambition — the opening of the Suez Canal, as is mentioned in this excerpt (“Igrot Kodesh”, Letter 9775):

...It is obvious that the efforts of those who have just recently begun to intrude in this area [meaning the USSR — note A.I.] originate not from the ambition of further conquests, but from the chance to use the canal in their own interests. That means that if the other side comes to the conclusion that the use of the canal is impossible, because it has been damaged and destroyed, and even with great effort it will only be usable for the smallest ships and so on, there is a considerable prospect that these reasons will affect them correspondingly, among other things, by reducing their involvement in the situation. And to continue my conversation with you on a similar topic, actions in the aforementioned direction do not require so much force as massive attacks, etc. It can be done in a way that does not trigger those who should not be challenged, and certainly it can be done by someone “different”.

Hence, according to the Rebbe, the Soviet intervention was driven primarily by the intention of using the Suez Canal (which was blocked after the Six-Day War) to their own advantage. For this purpose, they used their military forces. By moving missile batteries to the canal, they intended to push our military aviation away from it, even to the point of completely suppressing Israeli positions and, ultimately, to resume the opening of the Suez Canal under their protection — in a way that benefits their interests.

As mentioned above, one of the Soviet interests was to increase their own military presence in the Mediterranean, and it is clear that the opening of the Suez Canal under their protection could have served them well for that purpose.

What is surprising, in my opinion, is that this Soviet interest, about which the Rebbe writes, is not mentioned in practically any other document that lists the goals of the USSR in this war. I found it only in one place — at one of the meetings in the General Staff, Major General Aharon Yariv, the man to whom the Rebbe wrote the above-mentioned letters, speaks about it: “For the Russians this is not just a step to help Egypt, this is a global process. Finally, they want it to result in their colossal success — the opening of the Suez Canal — which is a global strategic interest of the Soviet Union.”

The remarkable fact is that this meeting at the General Staff was held in early July 1970, that is, only a few weeks after the Chief of Military Intelligence of Israel received the first letter from the Rebbe...

In other words, Major General Aharon Yariv, the Israeli Chief of Military Intelligence, received the Rebbe’s letter about Russia’s interest in the “War of Attrition” in opening a canal, and a few weeks later at the General Staff meeting he said exactly that!

From the context of the Rebbe’s letter, one can conclude that the reasons mentioned for this Soviet interest were new to Major General Aharon Yariv. That is why the Rebbe expanded them and explained them from several angles. Thus, it is logical to assume that the Israeli military intelligence head took the Rebbe’s remarks as a new insight into the Soviet interest and, as already mentioned, used them to justify his position at the General Staff meeting, which is the most important decision-making body in the IDF!

New weapons and new methods

Despite the success of the Soviet operation to deploy missile systems near the canal and the overall increasing Soviet involvement in the war, the spirit of our fighters did not decline. It was decided to look for “creative” ways to deal with the new threat. After several days of discussion, it was agreed to turn to the United States, which agreed to provide us with the most modern equipment for radio-electronic warfare. In addition, the decision was made to carry out air raids using the so-called “slingshot” method.

The “slingshot” method requires the aircraft to approach the target at a low altitude. Then, at a certain point, it rapidly rises up, dropping bombs, right as it takes off, depending on the onboard bombing computer. Then it quickly removes itself from the danger zone.

This method of attack was less accurate, but had the important advantage of providing much greater safety for the attacking aircraft. Later, other methods of attack were developed, combined with radio-electronic warfare units that jammed the Soviet-Egyptian alliance forces desperately trying to hold their positions, as well as to expand them by bringing in additional batteries. The Russians also used electronic warfare systems, blocking air communications. Some of their systems were tracked down and destroyed by Israel.

The new American ALQ 71 electronic countermeasures modules, requested and soon received by Israel, were at the time the most modern model in the field of aircraft defense against missiles. They were nicknamed “sweet peas” in the Israeli Air Force. American specialists arrived with them and instructed the pilots.

But the Russians used against our airplanes their advanced SA-3 air defense systems which could not be countered by the American systems. And although our air force managed to destroy seven enemy batteries, two Israeli fighters were shot down. One of the planes managed to reach the base, but the other one went down. In it was the “Phantom” squadron commander Shmuel Hez, may his memory be blessed. For Israel, the loss of a pilot was a high price to pay.

The Russians also suffered heavy losses in that attack — dozens of Soviet soldiers were killed and wounded. In addition, they lost a significant portion of their fortified missile system that they had worked so hard to build.

The condition of the Egyptians, on the other hand, was completely bad. Although they had managed to shoot down a few of our “Phantom” airplaines, their losses numbered in thousands. And therefore the morale and fighting spirit of the Egyptian army finally dropped. Our military intelligence estimated that about 200 people were casualties every week in Egypt at that time.

Colonel Boris Zhavoronok, a high-ranking Soviet commander who witnessed the Israeli air attacks, told the following about the mood of Egyptian soldiers (see “The Ghost over Cairo: The Israeli Air Force in the War of Attrition 1967-1970”):

The attack started ... when the flight path coordinates showed the “Phantom” airplanes approaching us, the Arabs were getting nervous, they kicked off their headphones, threw off their helmets and ran out of the room... one of our guys grabbed some Arab... and started hitting him over the head with his helmet, swearing and swearing...

Israel asked the United States for more weapons to fight the new rocket batteries, but the United States refused, trying in this way to leverage Israel, and pushing it to accept the “Rogers Plan”, a political plan of the US Secretary of State that included Israel’s agreement to give up all the territories liberated during the of the Six Day War and to conclude the cease-fire agreement.

Despite the death of Shmuel Hez, the very next day our air force launched a major attack in which dozens of Israeli fighters destroyed many targets. Over the next few days there were several other large and successful attacks. One of them was a particularly successful and famous air battle between the Israelis and Soviet fighter pilots.

A slap in the face to the Soviet Union — Operation “Garnet 20”

In fact it was a well planned trap for the Soviet pilots, planned by Major General Moti Hod (the same one who led our Air Force in the Six Day War), to a certain extent also to “avenge” the Russians for the death of the Hez squadron commander described above. The operation was approved by Minister of Defense Dayan, even though he, as usual, was afraid that it would lead to confrontation with the Russians, so he demanded that it get approved by a vote of the government. The government approved it and operation “Garnet 20” was launched.

On that day — July 30, 1970 — our pilots managed to lure the Soviets into a trap. First the Israeli “Mirage” airplanes (French-made multi-role fighters), built specifically for interception and aerial combat, began a combat flight, while imitating the flight profile of “totally innocent” airborne planes. The Soviet MiGs, tempted by what they thought would be easy prey, and despite warnings from the frightened and cautious Egyptians, took off and rushed toward them, hoping to shoot down the defenseless “photographers” without any problems. A dozen of Soviet fighters rushed toward the Israelis — in fact, as I said, “Mirage” airplanes, are superbly adapted and equipped for aerial combat. The Russian pilots were suddenly joined by the nearby “Phantom” jets, which were imitating the flight of “Skyhawks” not designed for aerial combat, so as not to raise the suspicions of the enemy.

A serious fight broke out in the sky over the Sinai. Suddenly the Russians discovered that they were up against the best French (“Mirages”) and American (“Phantoms”) fighters. There was another point that the Russians did not know, and could not have known. The Israeli planes were flown by a “team” of the most experienced fighter pilots.

Additional forces from both sides joined the fight. In the midst of this major battle, 10 Israeli fighters were opposed by 21 Soviet MiG-21 (at that time the most advanced model of MiGs).

Despite their obvious dominance in numbers, the Soviets, by the grace and miracle of the Almighty, lost this battle in the most pathetic way. Five Soviet planes were shot down, three pilots died, two ejected (one was wounded, the other was rescued alive and unharmed).

The Soviet Union suffered a painful and highly embarrassing defeat. Air Marshal Pavel Kutakhov, Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Air Force, personally flew to Egypt to investigate the causes of the defeat. From that moment forward Soviet pilots were ordered to stay away from aerial combat.

And so, until a cease-fire was declared, our air force continued to successfully crush the Egyptian missile systems. Their actions were so spectacular that Nasser — may his name be erased — arrived in the Kremlin on August 3 and harshly criticized the Soviet commanders, who had failed to do any real damage to the Israeli air force and also suffered losses.

Unfortunately, just four days later the Israeli government, in the trap set by Egypt, agreed to a cease-fire. This gave Egypt the opportunity to implement its Amal plan, literally presented on a silver platter.

Egypt violates the agreement and the U.S. keeps silent

The ceasefire agreement was supposed to take effect at midnight on August 7. An Israeli pilot recalled [his account is cited in Air Force Bulletin 171] that at 11.55 pm, he saw with his own eyes the headlights of the big Egyptian transport convoys, which had started moving towards the canal, in clear violation of the ceasefire. However, the pilot`s request to attack them immediately was firmly refused.

Hundreds of trucks, tractors, trains and other vehicles began again to move massively toward the canal, bringing the Egyptian missile batteries, which the air force pilots had so fiercely and successfully fought to prevent them from approaching the Israeli border so far.

Within weeks, dozens of missile batteries, thousands of anti-aircraft guns, and an entire complex of radar, communications, reconnaissance and electronic warfare systems were rapidly deployed on the Egyptian side of the canal. All this was done under the supervision and control of Soviet specialists. The first batteries to be moved to the border were the same ones which the Russians had moved to the area as part of their secret operation.

In addition, the Egyptians sent heavy artillery and heavy military equipment to the border, which was a clear and serious violation of the agreement in which they had pledged not to make any changes in their disposition within 50 km of the canal.

Most disappointing for Israel, however, was the tremendous silence of the United States, which itself, along with Israel and Egypt, signed the agreement, becoming the guarantor of its observance. Nevertheless, despite the enormous amount of intelligence provided by Israel to the United States, the United States refused to acknowledge Egypt’s violation of the agreement. Only a month later, the US State Department confirmed that the agreement had indeed been violated!

It is obvious that the satellite information, as well as many other sources other than the Israeli ones, were under the control of the United States from the moment Egypt began to violate the agreements!

By the way, the behavior of the United States was predicted in advance by the Rebbe...

The United States at the time had a clear interest in preserving the agreement that they themselves had signed, which is why they were unwilling to admit that it had completely failed. Moreover, the United States was then trying to impose on Israel the “Rogers Plan”, which included, as already mentioned, a rejection of all the territorial gains that Israel had made in the Six Day War. The first step in this was a cease fire, partly because the US was not prepared to acknowledge that the agreement had already been broken right from the start.

Many senior IDF officials and political activists demanded that Israel respond strongly to the serious violations of the agreement by Egypt. But the Israeli government has chosen to avoid a military response, predetermined both by Egypt’s consolidation of its success and by the growing strategic threat on its border with the state. Up to the Yom Kippur War, the Egyptian air defense system on the western side of the canal continued to increase. The Egyptians pulled up many new and most advanced batteries there, including the mobile SA-6s (Soviet Cube SAMs), which became a deadly danger to our air force in the war that soon followed.

It is also important to stress that according to information gathered by Israeli intelligence, immediately after the announcement of the cease-fire Egypt began intensive training exercises in canal crossings. These skills were used successfully by the Egyptian army during the Yom Kippur War.

The Army’s final study of the Yom Kippur War (a 900-page study in the author’s possession) states: " It became clear retrospectively that the missile deployment was an indication of the Soviet Union’s intention to let Egypt know that it was no longer helpless against attacks by the Israeli air force. Placing missiles close to the canal was a precondition for an Egyptian offensive initiative in the future.

Could the “War of Attrition” have been fought differently? — the Rebbe’s view

Even during the war itself, its poor administration by the political leadership has been much criticized. For more than two years after the end of the Six-Day War, despite the immediate aggression from Egypt, Israel held back from using its air force because of a sweeping decision by the political leadership, advised by some high ranking IDF officers. This decision was widely criticized, since as a result the IDF’s small regular ground force on the border with Egypt was forced to stand alone against the much larger and more powerful Egyptian troops.

It was only after a squad of Egyptian commandos crossed the canal, killing seven IDF soldiers, capturing another soldier, and destroying three Israeli tanks, only after that a decision was made to activate the air force.

As soon as the Israeli air force began to attack the Egyptian ground forces, it immediately succeeded in reducing significantly the density of Egyptian fire that was being directed at the IDF fortifications. At the same time, very hard restrictions were imposed on the air force. In fact, the pilots were allowed to operate only in the proximity of the canal. Only six months later, following the recommendation of the head of Army Intelligence, Major General Aharon Yariv, was granted permission to strike targets deep inside Egypt.

Major General Ariel Sharon also demanded intensified army strikes against the enemy, calling for large-scale military raids as well, involving a massive crossing of the Suez Canal.

Note that it was these two generals who had a deep connection with the Rebbe. Many of the letters addressed to them can be found in the volumes of “Igrot Kodesh”. In most of the letters to them, the Rebbe directly refers to military matters.

It is also interesting that already after one of the IDF’s first raids into the Egyptian rear (Operation “Izmoros”), conducted upon the insistence of these two generals, the head of army intelligence received a letter from the Rebbe congratulating him on Rosh Hashanah (as a response to a similar congratulation sent before by Aharon Yariv to the Rebbe), mentioning the operation that took place, in which the Rebbe blessed him with the following words: “For striking at the rear of neighbors who hate Israel, in an important place for them.”

One can understand from this letter that the Rebbe supported moving the fighting to the Egyptian rear. Note that this operation did in fact strike a nerve with the Egyptian high command, which had no suitable response to such threats in the rear. Later, after several months during which dozens of strategic targets were attacked in the Egyptian rear, the Egyptians turned to the Russians for help and they actually sent them, as already mentioned, large forces as well as missiles and planes to reinforce them.

However, instead of continuing to strike at Egypt’s weak points, Defense Minister Dayan, terrified of Soviet involvement, ordered the air force to pull back and stop attacking the enemy rear, contrary to the opinion of Chief of General Staff Chaim Bar-Lev, presented at the General Staff meeting (March 23, 1970): “Our main priority,” Bar-Lev believed at the time, “is that there are no missile systems in the canal area... The second priority is Cairo. In other words, we have to keep attacking. If we find SA-3, we also attack it.”)

Fear of Russian intervention was also a major factor in the defense minister’s decision to abandon the occupation of Damascus at the end of the Yom Kippur War. This is in sharp contrast to the position of the Rebbe, who was firmly committed to the fact that the Russians would not actually intervene in the fighting even if Damascus was conquered, partly out of fear of the United States’ reaction.

Many high-ranking IDF officers also demanded, even at the end of the “War of Attrition,” more attacks against Egypt, based on a clear military understanding that only painful strikes involving large army formations on the ground, in the air and at sea could lead to victory.

The Rebbe also seems to have shared this position, as the following passage from a letter sent to Ariel Sharon after the announcement of the cease-fire. In this letter, the Rebbe details the threat posed by the Egyptians bringing increasingly sophisticated weaponry to the canal (already after the cease-fire went into effect), and expresses his hope that the Egyptians will sooner or later take the desperate step of allowing Israel to break the agreement, because then Israel could defend itself as follows: “The only way to do this is to attack with all its might and not at half strength, as it has been so far... and only then is there hope for a sustained cease-fire and peace at last...”

In other words, according to the Rebbe, in the “War of Attrition”, the army acted only “at half strength,” and only when the army uses its full power in striking the enemy will there be hope for a real ceasefire and peace.

One way or another, the demand of these two high-ranking military officers (Yariv and Sharon) that the strikes against Egypt be intensified and that all IDF forces be engaged in combat operations was not fulfilled by the government. Even the air force was involved only at a very late stage of the war and with very tight restrictions. Virtually no naval involvement was undertaken. And the ground forces conducted only very limited operations (with the exception of the few that were performed by the special forces). As a result, the power of the IDF was not used to crush the Egyptians and achieve victory.

Moreover, as is well known, the Rebbe also opposed the justification of the Israeli defense concept on what was then called the “Bar Lev Line,” a line of outposts built along the canal to protect against an Egyptian breakthrough. Ariel Sharon later recounted his meeting with the Rebbe, at which the Rebbe expressed his categorical opposition to defending Sinai by this method. There were also those in the army itself who disagreed with this defense concept, advocating “mobile defense”. The Yom Kippur War, in which this line of defense was promptly breached, also confirmed the correctness of the Rebbe’s words in this matter.

This article is based on public sources. Partial bibliography: “The Ghost over Cairo. The Israeli Air Force in the ‘War of Attrition’ 1967-1970”, Dani Shalom “Mr. Intelligence”, Brig. Gen. Amos Gilboa (formerly head of the Military Intelligence Research Division) “The Final Study of the Yom Kippur War”, IDF, History Department.

Translated by D. Bilyayev from Возможный превентивный удар в канун войны Судного дня (часть II) Comments: 0 Support www.moshiach.ru