TEL AVIV (Sep. 24)
Israelis joined today in a somber memorial day observance of the first anniversary of the Yom Kippur War with special assemblies at all army bases and informal gatherings of Yom Kippur War veterans from various reserve units.
Gen. Mordechai Gur, Chief of Staff, declared, in an order of the day, that since the war, Israel had increased the might of its defense forces quantitatively and qualitatively. He warned that "forces in the world" were aiding the Arab armies with modern weapons and political support and that Israel must create the capacity "to prevent war or win it."
President Ephraim Katzir received today 74 soldiers, representing all the units which participated in the war in a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Shimon Peres, Gur and senior army officers. Katzir listed one by one the branches of the armed forces and their contributions to the war, and lauded their performances during the war as he recited the courageous actions of each unit.
Peres recalled that the Syrians and Egyptians had more tanks than Nazi Germany used against the Soviet Union in World War II and more planes than Britain had then. He said also that Israel had faced nearly one million soldiers from 11 Arab armies and volunteers from other countries during the 19-day war.
PERILOUS TIMES RECALLED
In Jerusalem, parents and wives of soldiers from Jerusalem killed in the Suez front fighting were presented with a memorial book to the fallen troops. In Haifa, armored unit men recalled the perilous time when 200 soldiers manning 50 tanks fought 550 Syrian tanks on the Golan Heights for 16 hours until reinforcements arrived, losing 84 men in that lonely defense.
Crews of missile boats recalled the emergence of the Navy as a fast-hitting force which struck hard at Syrian and Egyptian vessels and installations, including Syrian oil stores near Latakia. They recalled also hitting three Egyptian missile boats, one of which was sunk on the exact spot where the Israeli destroyer "Eilath" was sunk six years ago by an Egyptian missile off the shores of Sinai.
One previously unknown exploit was the disclosure that on the fifth day of the war, a week before Israeli troops crossed the Suez Canal in force, an Israeli unit was helicoptered into Egypt and carried out a series of operations behind Egyptian lines until it was pulled out by a copter in a daring rescue because of bad weather conditions.
Soldiers who fought in the war were awarded campaign ribbons. Similar presentations were made to war invalids at their homes. One blind soldier wept when he was given his ribbon.
ARMY ON SPECIAL ALERT
The army was placed on special alert, starting with the Yom Kippur fast tomorrow night, for any attack by Arab armies or terrorists. Passage will be barred, during the 24-hour fast period, between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Israel which is normally unhindered. A skeleton staff will man Israel’s radio and television stations in case of an emergency. Transmissions had been cancelled for Yom Kippur last year, as in previous years, but resumed when the Arab armed forces began their attacks.