Casualty Figures Announced

Seven o’clock this evening was the terrible hour – when grown men wept, when not a woman in the land could keep her eyes dry. The radio finally announced the casualty figure – 656. Some thought it would be more (there had been all sorts of wild rumors flying about). Some thought it would be less. Some, like newsmen, knew what the figure was. But everyone wept as the cold remorseless truth was read out officially – as if it would not be true until it was read.

The radio’s veteran newscaster, Moshe Hovav, said the army had begun informing the families of fallen soldiers. The number of Israeli dead on both fronts, Syria and Egypt, during the war…and here he paused while the nation – as one braced itself – and then he said the figure. The only other item of news was that the fighting has simmered down in Sinat and more than 200 Egyptian tanks had been knocked out. Then the radio played somber music and-left everyone to his own thoughts.

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