Yom Kippur War vets: IDF is better prepared now

Egyptian military trucks cross a bridge laid over the Suez Canal on October 7, 1973, during the Yom Kippur War. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Forty-two years after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, only a handful of officers who served then remain in the Israel Defense Forces. Several of them gathered on the anniversary of the war to speak about their difficult experiences decades ago.

Legendary drill sergeant of the Bahad 1 training base, Yitzhak Taito, now 74, remembers the outbreak of the war: “On Friday, we sent the cadets home at 7:30 a.m., [hours later] the silent call-up began and we called the soldiers back. By Saturday morning, we understood that there was a war.”

Tiato said that the most crucial lesson of the war was the importance of discipline. “The whole year, we teach, educate and explain,” he said. “As soon as a war breaks out, there is no time to learn—you must act. If the routine was properly structured the rest of the year, you will act properly during the war. The outcome of a war depends on discipline.”

Shmuel Zoro, 60, who is head of communications logistics instruction at a Communications Corps training base, remembers being called up to war while he was praying in synagogue.

“Buses pulled up to the synagogue and we were told there was a general call-up,” he said. “People just got on the buses in their jeans and white shirts and went straight to the battlefield.”

According to Zoro, the IDF has made strides since the Yom Kippur War. “The military learned a lot from the battles of Yom Kippur. Nowadays, the equipment is different, more advanced, digital,” he said.

Shmuel Okravi, 62, who is in charge of battle equipment in the Logistics Brigade, agreed. “Today, the army is much better prepared and emphasizes the importance of preparedness in the units,” he said.

Tzvi Arzi, 68, a discipline officer in the Intelligence Brigade’s detection unit, served at a base in central Israel during the Yom Kippur War. “We were responsible for issues relating to injured soldiers and we pulled the files for all the fallen and injured soldiers,” he recalled, adding, “I remember a terrible moment when a soldier picked up a file and saw her brother's name, and that is how she realized he had been killed.”

Posted on September 22, 2015 .