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September 09, 1983 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-09-09

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Friday, September 9, 1983 15

YK War Still in Israel's Psyche


World Zionist
Press Service



raelis, the notion that an
entire decade has passed
since the Yom Kippur War
is at least as hard to believe
as for Americans above age
30 to absorb that 20 years
have passed since President
Kennedy's assassination. In
the same way that Ameri-
cans still reflect on where
they were when they heard
the news, the Israeli's im-
ages of the traumatic first
days of the war are very
The synagogues empty-
ing out of fighting-age men,
strictly Orthodox Jews driv-
ing to battle on the holiest
day of the year, the .dark-
ness of the streets during
black-out, the long evenings
around the television fol-
lowing the news. There
were countless tales of
heroism, and there was the
wailing of young widows on
the sloping green hills of the
military cemetery in
Jerusalem and similar sites
all over the land.
The most popular song
was the sentimental ballad,
"The Last War," and many
believed the lyrics: this was
going to be the last war Is-
rael -would fight. The fact
that the Yom Kippur has
now become "the last war"
in a different sense makes
our memories of it even
more poignant.
Rather than distancing
the Yom Kippur War, the
Peace for Galilee" opera-
tion has brought back
vividly our memories of
the Yom Kippur War. For
those of us on the homef-
ront, we found ourselves
once again reluctantly
putting on our best cop-
ing behavior — assuming
extra jobs, organizing
child-care, baking cakes
for soldiers, walking with
our transistor at the
ready, one e#r always
cocked for a news report.

Unlike the Yom Kippur
War, the Lebanese war had
no shortages of fuel or basic
services —just ever-present
anxiety, like learning to
live with a heart condition.
For the soldiers who took
part in the wars there was
less time for impressionistic
images. But for them, too,
the Yom Kippur War has
not been consigned to an

historical event which our armor corps will
grows more obscure.
have protection. This
"On the contrary," said time we will not undere-
Dr. Abraham David, 40, stimate the enemy and
who fought in the Six-Day the threat he poses. The
War, the Yom Kippur War Yom Kippur War has, for
and in the war in Lebanon, better or worse, become
"the experiences of the Yom part of how we look at the
Kippur War are still very present."
much with us, part of our
Dr. David's daughter was
daily consciousness."
born while he was fighting
Dr. David is a good in the Yom Kippur War.
example of Israel's fight- She was named Hemda,
ing forces. An historical "pleasantness," a word
librarian by profession, associated with the prayer
his career pursuit is iden- for future days of pleasant-
tifying puzzling medieval ness when there will be no
manuscripts that have more war.
stumped other resear-
Freckled, red-haired
chers. He is the devoted
father of five, deeply reli- Hemda is turning 10 this
gious and a lover of Yom Kippur. Like the rest
of the people of Israel, she
classical music.
In the Six-Day War he will pray that the time will
was in the front lines fight- come soon when war will
ing,Jordan, in the Yom Kip- not be part of the present,
pur War he was in the Sec- but a subject to be studied
ond lines in the Jordan Val- from her father's history
ley and on the Suez Canal, books.
after the crossing by the Is-
Great evils enforce great
raeli Army. In Lebanon, he
was an army historian, re- lessons.
cording the events of the
battle for future genera-
"The blow of that Yom
Kippur, that the Israeli
Army could be surprised in
such a sophisticated man-
ner, has left a permanent
mark on our national self-
confidence and can be ob-
served 10 years later," said
Dr. David. "Before Yom
-Kippur we really did see
ourselves as invincible. On
the other hand, the fact that
the army did score an ex-
traordinary victory despite
the initial underdog posi-
tion was reassuring, creat-
ing an ambivalence about
how we look at the war."
"The ambivalence goes
further. The war was tragic
for us on a personal level —
some 3,000 dead, (some six
times more than in Leba-
non) and for me, like most
Israelis, among them close
friends. But on a national
level the war was an open-
ing for the peace process
with Egypt,' which might
never have taken place if
the Arabs had not regained
their own pride from the ini-
tial victories."

"Fighting in Lebanon
brought back memories
of Yom Kippur. We were
saying "this time we have
the initiative and will not
wait to be surprised by
our enemies. This time




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These Israeli civilians are shown during the early
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counts of the fighting.

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