Menu JTA Search

Dayan, Barlev Explain What Occurred Prior to the Eruption of the War

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said yesterday that the Israeli government and military firmly believed, up until the morning of Yom Kippur (Oct. 6) that there would be no war and for that reason mobilization of the reserves was not ordered. Addressing army officers on the Northern front, Dayan said that he himself did not expect war to break out and he had heard no one else say that war was imminent.

Dayan was replying, in effect, to charges by leaders of the opposition Likud faction in the Knesset on Tuesday that the government’s failure to mobilize before Yom Kippur morning constituted gross negligence and was responsible for Israel’s high casualties in the war. He said, however, that he did order certain precautionary measures which he considered necessary in light of certain intelligence reports. But he insisted that the reports gave no grounds to assume that war was at hand.

Minister of Commerce and Industry Gen. Haim Barlev, addressing a Labor Party meeting, said there was no basic deficiency in the Israeli army when war broke out. Barlev, a former Chief of Staff who was recalled to active duty and served on the Egyptian front, said the Israeli army on the whole was in a state of readiness on Oct. 6 but was caught at a moment when not all of its components were fully prepared for battle.

He said the initial successes scored by the Egyptians and Syrians were due to surprise and not to deficiencies of the Israeli army, incorrect strategy or poor intelligence as to the enemy’s strength and capabilities, Barlev said that in the months ahead Israel has to see to it that the cease-fire is stabilized and strive for a political settlement. The settlement has to include defensible borders and assurances that the Jewish character of the State is maintained, he said.

During the Knesset debate Tuesday on the Yom Kippur War Premier Golda Meir defended her government against charges that it delayed calling up the reserves when an Arab attack appeared imminent and thus contributed to the high casualties Israel suffered during the war. She said that she authorized mobilization less than 10 minutes after the situation was presented to her on Oct. 6. The Premier noted that the government will soon undertake an inquiry into the events preceding the war and the conduct of the war.

NEXT STORY