Kissinger recalls the morning of Yom Kippur in 1973: "At half past six in the morning, Joseph Sisko, then Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, asked me to meet with me urgently, saying, 'There is a crisis in the Middle East, and if you act immediately, you can still stop it.".Dr. Henry Kissinger, who held the post from 1973 to 1977, was in New York at the time with the entire high-level team at the State Department on the occasion of the annual conference of nations. "I said the only thing that wouldn't happen was that the Israelis would attack on Yom Kippur and that's practically – almost – impossible, but by midday, it became clear that this was a regular war, and that it was a large-scale attack," Kissinger says in response to a question about the evolving situation in the Middle East in the fall of 1973: "I became secretary of state, two weeks before the war began, but I was national security adviser, for four and a half years before that, and in the normal course of events, the intelligence reports I received did not contain any unusual information. I was inaugurated as foreign minister on Saturday [in the third week of September], and then I saw reports of the concentration of Egyptian military forces. "We thought it didn't mean much, because in previous years, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, was threatening a lot and did nothing. So I thought, if they're building, I want daily reporting on the Middle East. Every day they repeated the same thing. I was uncomfortable with the development of the situation, but there was no news to support my fears, Israel tried to reassure us. In Israel, too, in the days before the war broke out, news piled up that large forces were stationed west of the Suez Canal. The IDF and intelligence chiefs interpreted it except for a few mid-ranking officers as part of a maneuver, and were convinced that the Egyptians had no intention of launching an attack. Military censorship has rejected reports by military reporters about the build-up of an extraordinary Egyptian force in Sinai, and fears of an actual war did not emerge until Friday, October 5, on the eve of Yom Kippur.It was early in the evening, when then-Mossad chief Zvi Zamir unexpectedly landed in the British capital and did not visit the Great Synagogue there. He was summoned to meet with "The Angel," the pseudonym of Ashraf Marwan, Nasser's brother-in-law, who was one of Sadat's closest advisers and a Mossad agent, according to the Israeli newspaper.Just 14 hours before the Sinai and Golan attacks, Marwan reported the most important news about the zero hour and the coordination of the attack by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. Only later, in the middle of the Yom Kippur fast, the mobilization of Israel's reserve forces began, squadron commanders appeared with emergency summons papers in soldiers' homes, word of mouth spread through synagogues, and many worshippers ran home to exchange their prayer shawls for Israeli army uniforms, kept in their safes for emergencies. In Jerusalem's Mia Shearim neighborhood and in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Bnei Brak, queues formed near MDA mobile units tasked with collecting blood donations for the wounded."On the Friday before the war began, we received information that the Russians were withdrawing their personnel from the Middle East, and then we began an active effort to calm the situation. "At the end of a day of fighting, when noon approached Sunday, it was clear that the attacking armies (Egyptian and Syrian) had made significant progress, but we were determined from the beginning to prevent The Arab victory, which we saw as a Soviet victory. "We were fully convinced, from the first moment, that we would restore the situation to what it was, but by the end of the first day, it was clear that the attacking armies had made large-scale advances." In the early days of the war, Israel lost nearly 200 fighters a day. Many first-line soldiers were captured by Egypt. The Israeli Air Force did not have an adequate response to the Soviet-produced SA6 anti-aircraft missiles. The pilots who were wounded and managed to operate the bomber seats joined the soldiers captured in the fortifications of "Bar-Lev". In the first three days of fighting, the Israeli Air Force lost 49 aircraft and damaged 500 tanks in Sinai. There was a shortage of artillery munitions in emergency depots and the equipment was discovered to be partially rusty and unusable. In Israel, mothers, fathers, wives and children saw images of tanks on fire and captured soldiers. The Israeli government was stunned. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Prime Minister Golda Meir were on the verge of collapse. The need to replace the downed planes quickly became apparent. The ammunition was necessary to make up for the shortages that were discovered, during the first hours of the war," Kissinger says of the American airlift to Israel, which "changed" the shape of the battlefield: "I raised the question of resupplying Israel, remember that we based our early discussions about the war on the fact that military superiority was in Israel's favor. We never seriously thought of Soviet-backed progress in the Middle East, so when that became clear we started talking about resupply. The Pentagon has strongly opposed any resupply of U.S. equipment. So we arranged for the Israelis to send their own planes and we would load them. At that time, it was high-tech equipment that could be used immediately." "There were two separate problems, the direct battle, and the long-range battle. In direct battle, Israel had to halt the enemy's advance and launch an offensive before significant U.S. diplomatic intervention could take place. I urged them to start an offensive on some fronts, and I said that we would not act diplomatically until that was successful. In the meantime, we were organizing a civilian airlift to Israel, starting immediately, and we thought it could happen very quickly. Under this mandate, the civilian airlift consists of telling civil airlines to make their aircraft available for a civilian airlift, under their management, and at the same time, we were continuing to resupply through Israeli aircraft." But one has to see this from a rational perspective. When I said "hard," it meant 48 hours to organize it. So the Israelis were about to launch an offensive on the Golan Heights, and they were discussing the ceasefire offer at the same time. I strongly opposed a ceasefire while the battle was going in favor of the offensive, and when it became clear that a civilian airlift could not be organized as quickly as we initially thought, I went to Nixon and told him that we needed another level of airlift to influence the situation, that we needed a military airlift. Nixon ordered an immediate airlift for the Israelis, and we began to implement it, Friday evening and on a large scale on Saturday morning, and it took three days, to fully mobilize the American military airlift.With Israel seen collapsing in front of the Egyptian and Syrian militaries, Kissinger says: "Since Saturday morning, we agreed to a proposal A ceasefire, which will be put forward at the UN, not by the United States but by another country, and we tried to persuade Australia and then England to make the proposal. But Sadat rejected the offer because he thought he was winning, and ordered two armored divisions to cross the canal, believing they could because Israel had no air superiority there. However, once it was out of range of Soviet artillery and anti-aircraft weapons, it became highly vulnerable to the Israeli Air Force, and Sadat lost several hundred tanks in that Sunday battle." There was no delay at first, it started from the first night. It was inconceivable before the war that Israel would need an airlift when the war began."The change in the battle map began to be noticeable after the counteroffensive in the Golan and the retreat of Syrian forces to a distance of 40 kilometers from Damascus. Syria has demanded that Egypt increase fighting in the south in order to ease pressure in the Golan. The Egyptians tried and failed. Then came the crossing of the canal and the siege of the Egyptian Third Army. Sadat invited me to visit Moscow. At the time Israeli forces had already crossed the Suez Canal, and when they got there they insisted on an immediate ceasefire. "From the time I asked Brezhnev for a ceasefire until it was implemented, there were another 48 hours, which improved Israel's position on the battlefield."
Israel was losing 200 fighters a day. Kissinger tells exciting scenes about the October War
Highlights: Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recalls dramatic scenes of the October 1973 War. Kissinger tells exciting scenes about the October War. "I said the only thing that wouldn't happen was that the Israelis would attack on Yom Kippur and that's practically – almost – impossible," he says. "We were determined from the beginning to prevent The Arab victory, which we saw a Soviet victory," he adds. "At the end of a day of fighting, when noon approached Sunday, it was clear that the attacking armies (Egyptian and Syrian) had made significant progress," Kissinger says.
Under the headline "Yom Kippur War: Henry Kissinger, Talks about U.S. Role in Israel's Darkest Hours," the Jerusalem Post published an interview with the former US Secretary of State, in which he recounted dramatic scenes of the October 1973 War.