JOHANNESBURG (Sep. 4)
Israel’s former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan says the United States let Israel down in some aspects of its military supply airlift during the Yom Kippur War. The U.S. sent plenty of ammunition but not enough tanks. Israeli forces captured three times more Russian tanks from the Egyptians and Syrians than the Americans were able to supply, Dayan said in an interview published today in the Rand Daily Mail.
The former Cabinet Minister had other observations to make on the Yom Kippur War. He said his main regret was that he had not ordered the mobilization of Israeli reserves sooner. “We left it very late. An earlier mobilization would have helped considerably in the first phase of the war.” Dayan said. But, he added, “It was a difficult situation. Mobilization hits Israel socially as well as economically. What if the Arabs had not struck in October?”
Dayan said the Israeli Cabinet took the right decision when it decided against a pre-emptive strike last Oct. after it became clear that war was imminent. He said the reverse decision would have estranged world opinion and lost American aid. “It’s one thing attacking when the enemy is at your bedroom door, as he was in 1956 and 1967, but it’s another when he is at the bottom of your garden and on his side of the fence,” Dayan said.
He did not agree with predictions in some quarters that a new Middle East war would break out within six months. He said he could not discount the possibility of another war within two years. Dayan is visiting Cape Town today, accompanied by Dr. Jan Marais, chairman of the South African Foundation which invited him to tour the country. His party is travelling under tight security maintained by South African police and Israeli bodyguards. Similar security measures have been taken to protect the eight-man Israeli Judo team participating in an international contest here.