When the odds were against Israel in 1973, miracles became the norm

by Michael Sax

When Arab armies led massive forces to attack Israel during the Yom Kippur War, Israel was caught off-guard.  Yes, Israel had a standing army on guard.  But, the intelligence failed – up until the very day of the first attack.  Everyone thought Israel would be tragically destroyed or severely diminished.  But Israel proved the Arabs wrong once again and prevailed in a grueling few weeks of battle.

The Yom Kippur War

On October 6, 1973, Arab armies launched a joint surprise attack on Israel. The date was carefully selected to surprise Israel.  Most Israelis were praying in synagogues due to the Yom Kippur Holy Day. Yom Kippur is the holiest day in Judaism. Massive Egyptian and Syrian armies crossed ceasefire lines and entered the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.

Southern border – Many Israelis killed in the Yom Kippur War

The war began as a massive Egyptian force crossed the Suez Canal. This was a cease-fire line from the Six Day War in 1967. The Egyptian army then advanced into the Sinai Peninsula. The Israeli army quickly mobilized its soldiers, and the IDF rushed to the south to defend against the Egyptian onslaught. After three days, Israel had mobilized most of its forces and halted the Egyptian offensive, resulting in a military stalemate.

Northern border – Syria leads surprise attack

Syria coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive in the south. They were able to advance deep into Israeli territory in the southern Golan and killed many Israeli soldiers. However, a small IDF tank unit was able to hold waves of Syrian tanks in the northern Golan. The Israelis fought for their lives, and ultimately pushed the Syrians back to the pre-war ceasefire lines.   Following that, they then pushed deeper into Syria and actually approached Damascus.

As Israel had some breathing space now, they began to fight back. Israeli artillery began to shell towards Damascus. A few days later, a United Nations brokered ceasefire fell apart. The fighting continued.  By October 24, down south, the Israelis improved their positions considerably and surrounded Egypt’s Third Army and the city of Suez.


Both sides reached a cease fire, and the war finally ended. Israel had suffered massive losses – more than 2,000 dead. But it had survived. The combined Egyptian-Syrian armies could not destroy Israel. And it was clear that the Jewish state survived thanks to God’s help. In all, the IDF had about 400,000 troops and 1700 tanks. The Arab armies had about 900,000 troops and 3500 tanks. Yet Israel won. This shows that Israel’s survival was truly a miracle.

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