(Israel National Photo Collection)
yom kippur war

Many miraculous events occurred during the Yom Kippur War. As in the Chanukah story, the People of Israel were victorious despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

By Penina Taylor

The 1973 Arab-Israel War – also known as the Yom Kippur War because it began on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar – lasted approximately four weeks. It was October 6, 1973, which also happened to fall that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

An Arab coalition led by Egypt and Syria launched a joint surprise attack against Israel. Despite the large amassing of forces along Israel’s borders prior to that day, a significant amount of misinformation and what appeared to be a lack of support for the Arab states by Russia had convinced Israel that war was not imminent.

This meant that Israel was doubly unprepared for the invasion.

A couple of false alarms in both May and August of that year meant that by the time the offensive was about to be launched, Israeli intelligence had regarded the movement of troops and armaments as just another insignificant exercise.

Just as with all our wars, stories of miracles abound. The fact that Jordan chose to opt out of this war was considered by many to be a miraculous occurrence in and of itself.

Jordan’s decision was due to a combination of pressure from the US to stay out of the conflict and a secret understanding between Jerusalem and Amman that if Jordan refrained from becoming involved, Israel would not attack her.

Having had nearly all of her air force destroyed by Israel in the 1967 war, the Jordanians decided not to participate.

For Israel, the difference between having to fight a war on two fronts instead of three was a meaningful one and gave her a fighting chance.

The Miracle that was Yom Kippur

One might have thought that the observance of Yom Kippur would have made it harder for Israel to gather her reserve forces, but it actually was easier in many ways.

As it was Yom Kippur, most of the country was at home or in synagogue, fasting. This, too, proved to be momentous because it was easier to locate the reservists for the sudden draft.

Although most people were not listening to the radio and very few had phones at home at the time, a few well-placed calls and the gathering of buses in public areas facilitated the call to action.

The quiet of the day also allowed reservists to hear the rumbling of the buses, and many went to check what was happening.

A Minefield Miracle

One event, which has been repeated literally thousands of times, concerned Commander David Yinni. He was in the process of pulling his troops out of a confrontation with the Syrian army when he realized that they were trapped in a minefield. Knowing it would take a miracle for them to make it out alive, the troops began crawling on their bellies while using their bayonets to try and find the mines without setting them off.

At some point, one of the soldiers uttered a heartfelt prayer. As the story goes, all of a sudden a windstorm blew in. The soldiers hunkered down until the storm subsided, and when it did, it had blown away so much of the dirt that the mines were exposed and the entire platoon managed to escape unharmed.

In the end, due to a number of similar occurrences – not unlike those of previous wars – Israel managed to emerge victorious in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

The miracle of Chanukah also reminds us that even when facing overwhelming challenges, miracles do occur for the People of Israel, who will continue to exist notwithstanding the goals of the enemies we face.

(This article is part of a series on Israel’s military miracles. For the article about the Six Day War Chanukah miracle, click HERE)