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The Historian Who Says Israel Didn’t Screw Up the Yom Kippur War

Ofer Aderet
Haaretz, Sept. 21, 2023

“Because of the intelligence failure, which essentially wasn’t a system-wide lapse but an individual failure by the Military Intelligence chief, the decision-makers didn’t receive the warning they expected and the IDF didn’t prepare for war in time.”

 A quick glance at the output of Prof. Uri Bar-Joseph reveals that he’s the historian who has written most about the Yom Kippur War. “In all modesty, no one else has researched it more than I have,” he says; his latest book, in Hebrew, focuses on the great comeback by the Israel Defense Forces: “Recovery: The IDF in the Crucible of the Yom Kippur War.”

The 74-year-old historian, actually, says that this work was born of “ongoing frustration.” As the dominant narrative has it, the disastrous start of the war stemmed from failed deterrence and poor preparation by the IDF, which was still complacent after the 1967 Six-Day War. Hubris weighed down both the military and political leaders.

But from everything Bar-Joseph has read and written about the war, a different picture emerges: “of an army that prepared well and had nearly all its components ready for war. An army that greatly stressed the building up of its tanks and air force, and was equipped with good weapons and trained intensively. It had amassed impressive operational experience and knew very well what it was going to do,” says Bar-Joseph, a professor emeritus at the University of Haifa.

” … [To read the full article, clickhere]

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