TEL AVIV (Oct. 14)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan tonight called on the Jewish nation throughout the world to rally around Israel and support it especially as the Arab world is now concentrating its military power in Egypt and Syria. During a TV interview Dayan, who said he was dividing his time between the northern and southern fronts, said that the Arab countries have declared that their armies are at the disposal of Syria and Egypt, bringing the power of the Arab armies to 800,000 soldiers, over 1000 first-line planes and 5000 tanks.
Referring to the military objectives of the present battle, Dayan cited three aims: to repulse the enemy from the Golan – which has been achieved; to push back the Syrians from their former line and this has also been achieved; and to destroy the military power of the Syrians. This has not yet been achieved. He could not say that the forces that have been repulsed have been totally destroyed.
Moreover, Dayan said he was doubtful if the Syrians would ask for a cease-fire even if they are defeated. The Syrians, he said, are backed by Arab states which place their military resources at the disposal of Syria and Egypt. However, Dayan expressed belief that a de facto cease-fire could be achieved.
Dayan defended the decision to wait for the Arabs to attack first. He said that the Israeli army had two alternatives in its defense approach: the first was to start a preventive war or to keep the army on the alert for years on end to counter the continuous threat by the Arabs; the other alternative was to partially keep the army on full alert. He declared that because of Israel’s position she could not strike first. He said that because of Israel’s economic needs it is impossible to keep the whole nation–the regular army and its reserves–recruited for years on end. However, he conceded that had Israel struck first the number of casualties might have been smaller and the war easier.
The Defense Minister expressed the nation’s condolences to the families of the 656 dead and said that while the sorrow is deep Israelis have to carry it within their hearts because the war is going on and has to go on. “Because of that we cannot pay tribute in public to these heroes who gave their lives for the defense of our State. The sorrow is shared by all,” he said. FLASH: Saudi Arabia entered today Mideast war.