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JEWISH CULTURE N° 167 by Gilberte Jacaret

HANUKKAH

CHANDELIER HANUKKAH

Hanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays because of its proximity to Christmas. It remembers the rededication of the Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks. It lasts eight days and every day we light a candle.
The story begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Under his benevolent rule many Jews assimilated much of the Hellenistic culture. More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He started oppressing the Jews and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chassidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees. They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression of the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.
The historical meaning of Hanukkah According to Jewish law, Hanukkah is one of the less important Jewish holidays. However, Hanukkah has become much more popular in modern practice because of its proximity to Christmas.
Hanukkah celebrates the triumph of faith and courage over military might. It is the classic underdog story.

In the second century B.C.E., the Jews were prohibited from studying sacred texts or celebrating Jewish holidays. The penalty for violation of these rules was death.
In addition, the holy Temple had been defiled with pagan rituals, and they had been ordered to worship other gods. A small group of faithful Jews, known now as the Maccabeus, rose up and defeated the invaders, reclaimed the Temple, cleansed it, removed the idols, and rededicated the space G-d.

Within the temple, there was a huge menorah (seven branched candelabra that burned oil) that had to be lit. This light was supposed to remain always lit within the Temple. But the sacred olive oil needed to burn in the Menorah took eight days to prepare. And there was only a one-day supply of oil on hand.

They decided to light the flame anyway. And, a great miracle occurred. The oil burned continuously for eight days, long enough for new oil to be purified.

Since that time, Hanukkah has been celebrated for eight days to recall the miracle when the menorah burned for eight days with only one day's supply of oil in the Temple.

ANCIENNE HANUKKYA                                                                                                                                                                          An old hanukkya

Every year, it is customary to commemorate the miracle of the Hanukkah oil by lighting candles on a hanukkiyah, by spinning the dreidel and by eating fried food such as latkes and sufganiyot during the holiday.

TOUPIE ETC

JEWSIH HERITAGE N° 166 by Gilberte Jacaret

"Alien and Unpleasant".
Anti-Semitic drawings from the Polish press of 1919–1939

JEWISH CULTURE 166 POLAND

The Emanuel Ringelblum
Jewish Historical Institute

The exhibition will present anti-Semitic caricatures accompanying articles. They were one of the methods of stimulating aversion to Jews, affecting the feeling and views on the so-called „Jewish question".

JEWISH CULTURE 166 POLAND 2

Already on 15th October at the opening of the exhibition „Alien and Unpleasant. Anti-Semitic drawings from the Polish press of 1919–1939" over 300 works published in the Polish press in the years 1919–1939 will be presented. Caricatures — accompanying the anti-Semitic articles — were an important factor in shaping the image of the Jew, and thus influenced the feeling and views on „the Jewish question". The exhibition will be accompanied by a screening of a film about hate speech, which features Prof Jerzy Bralczyk, Prof Michal Glowinski, Prof Irena Kaminska-Szmaj, Piotr Forecki and Bozena Keff. The organizer of the exhibition is the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

Anti-Semitic caricatures surprise in terms of their variety, but they have a common denominator: they all incite to hatred. In a simple and understandable way they show Jews as intruders and enemies. They emphasize, among others, stereotypical Jewish racial traits, both physical and mental.

JEWISH CULTURE 166 POLAND 3

„The image of the Jew, that emerges from the drawings from the Polish press of 1919–1939 is scary and beyond belief," says Teresa Śmiechowska, Head of the Art Department of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.
Anti-Semitic works showed a symbolic image of the Jew striving for domination over Poland and the Polish. He was supposed to be the perpetrator of all the evil in the country. At the same time they suggested ways to solve „the Jewish question", for example by popularizing the idea of economic struggle, ghetto benches, Aryan paragraph, displacement. There were also works which expressed approval for the anti-Jewish actions in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

„The image of the Jew presented in press illustrations is seen as a creature repulsing by his physicality and mentality, so different, alien and frightening as only a demon, monster, or animal arousing abomination can be. In the presented drawings the Jew is dehumanized, depersonalized, reduced to anonymous, typical representative of „the Jewish race"" says Dariusz Konstantynow, the curator of the exhibition.

Famous and anonymous authors

The exhibited works were published during the interwar period in papers including: „Kurier Poznański", „Dziennik Bydgoski", „ABC-Nowiny Codzienne", „Wieczór Warszawski", „Podbipięta", „Prosto z mostu", „Szczutek", „Szopka", „Mucha", „Żółtea Mucha", „Szarża", „Pokrzywy", „Szabes-Kurier". The authors of the drawings were both well-known professional artists (including Jerzy Zaruba, Kamil Mackiewicz, Włodzimierz Bartoszewicz, Włodzimierz Łukasik, Jerzy Srokowski, Kazimierz Grus i Maja Berezowska) and anonymous ones, hiding behind monograms and pseudonyms.

The satirical image of the Jew in the European press.

Anti-Semitic drawings in the Polish press have their wider European context. An important turning point for Central Europe was the rise of political anti-Semitism in the States of Germany. Anti-Semitic agitation was accompanied by malicious illustration. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, satirical magazine Kikeriki (actually Kikeriki! Wiener humoristisches Volksblatt) was published since 1861. Anti-Jewish prejudices and modern anti-Semitic stereotypes cultivated for centuries found their illustrative comment in French satirical magazines, including Le Mirliton, La Caricature or Le Canard Sauvage. Drawings by Parisian artists were published in the press of francophone countries, including Belgium, Switzerland, and also in the Latin countries, especially in Italy, Romania and Spain. However, in Eastern Europe scathing images of Jews spread with the expansion of the mass press, which took place after the Revolution of 1905. After the First World War the most aggressive satirical anti-Semitic writings started to emerge in Germany, such as „Der Stürmer" of Julius Streicher (published since 1923). Polish anti-Semitic caricature joined the global market of ethnic hatred in the late 1900s.

Hate speech

The language of superiority, contempt, and hatred, which is reflected in the objects at the exhibition „Alien and Unpleasant", takes the floor again today, albeit in a different form. Manifestations of hostile emotions are visible in extreme antagonistic ideologies that seem to be gaining momentum. Therefore it is important to remember that what seemed to be only a joke and a symbolic violence in caricature drawings, reinforced prejudice and racial stereotypes which took a toll.

KRISTALLNACHT

Kristallnacht
(research by Gilberte Jacaret^)

Background & Overview
(November 9-10, 1938)
From the Jewish Virtual Library :

Almost immediately upon assuming the Chancellorship of Germany, Hitler began promulgating legal actions against Germany's Jews. In 1933, he proclaimed a one-day boycott against Jewish shops, a law was passed against kosher butchering and Jewish children began experiencing restrictions in public schools. By 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived Jews of German citizenship. By 1936, Jews were prohibited from participation in parliamentary elections and signs reading "Jews Not Welcome" appeared in many German cities. (Incidentally, these signs were taken down in the late summer in preparation for the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin).
In the first half of 1938, numerous laws were passed restricting Jewish economic activity and occupational opportunities. In July, 1938, a law was passed (effective January 1, 1939) requiring all Jews to carry identification cards. On October 28, 17,000 Jews of Polish citizenship, many of whom had been living in Germany for decades, were arrested and relocated across the Polish border. The Polish government refused to admit them so they were interned in "relocation camps" on the Polish frontier.

Germans pass broken window of Jewish-owned shop

KRISTALLNACHT NOV.13
                                                       (USHMM Photo)

Among the deportees was Zindel Grynszpan, who had been born in western Poland and had moved to Hanover, where he established a small store, in 1911. On the night of October 27, Zindel Grynszpan and his family were forced out of their home by German police. His store and the family's possessions were confiscated and they were forced to move over the Polish border.

Zindel Grynszpan's seventeen-year-old son, Herschel, was living with an uncle in Paris. When he received news of his family's expulsion, he went to the German embassy in Paris on November 7, intending to assassinate the German Ambassador to France. Upon discovering that the Ambassador was not in the embassy, he settled for a lesser official, Third Secretary Ernst vom Rath. Rath, was critically wounded and died two days later, on November 9.
The assassination provided Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Chief of Propaganda, with the excuse he needed to launch a pogrom against German Jews. Grynszpan's attack was interpreted by Goebbels as a conspiratorial attack by "International Jewry" against the Reich and, symbolically, against the Fuehrer himself. This pogrom has come to be called Kristallnacht, "the Night of Broken Glass."

On the nights of November 9 and 10, rampaging mobs throughout Germany and the newly acquired territories of Austria and Sudetenland freely attacked Jews in the street, in their homes and at their places of work and worship. At least 96 Jews were killed and hundreds more injured, more than 1,000 synagogues were burned (and possibly as many as 2,000), almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed, cemeteries and schools were vandalized, and 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps [added by Mitchell Bard from his book The Complete Idiot's Guide to World War II. NY: MacMillan, 1998, pp. 59-60].

The official German position on these events, which were clearly orchestrated by Goebbels, was that they were spontaneous outbursts. The Fuehrer, Goebbels reported to Party officials in Munich, "has decided that such demonstrations are not to be prepared or organized by the party, but so far as they originate spontaneously, they are not to be discouraged either."

Three days later, on November 12, Hermann Goering called a meeting of the top Nazi leadership to assess the damage done during the night and place responsibility for it. Present at the meeting were Goering, Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Walter Funk and other ranking Nazi officials. The intent of this meeting was two-fold: to make the Jews responsible for Kristallnacht and to use the events of the preceding days as a rationale for promulgating a series of antisemitic laws which would, in effect, remove Jews from the German economy. An interpretive transcript of this meeting is provided by Robert Conot, Justice at Nuremberg, New York: Harper and Row, 1983:164-172):
It was decided at the meeting that, since Jews were to blame for these events, they be held legally and financially responsible for the damages incurred by the pogrom. Accordingly, a "fine of 1 billion marks was levied for the slaying of Vom Rath, and 6 million marks paid by insurance companies for broken windows was to be given to the state coffers. (Snyder, Louis L. Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: Paragon House, 1989:201).

Kristallnacht turns out to be a crucial turning point in German policy regarding the Jews and may be considered as the actual beginning of what is now called the Holocaust.

JEWISH CULTURE N° 164 BY ERNEST SIMON

THE JEWISH MAGAZINE
October 2013

SHAKESPEARE
Was Shakespeare a Jew By Ghislain Muller
Review By Danièle Frison
Was Shakespeare a Jew, Edwin Mellen, University Press.
http://mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=8503&pc=9

Why write a new book about Shakespeare, and especially a biography when so many have already been published and every possible avenue seems to have been investigated? For many years, research on Shakespeare's identity has remained bound by the limits of Christianity: none of the Shakespearean specialists have dared to go any further than suggesting that Shakespeare was a crypto-Catholic in an England forced to conform to the newly established Protestant religion. Yet, for many years now Shakespearean scholars have been quarrelling about the exact reality of Shakespeare's Catholicism. But no one has dared to launch so daring a hypothesis as that put forward by Ghislain Muller in the present book, namely that Shakespeare was in fact a Jew, although a hidden one.

Up to the present day, Shakespearean critics have been arguing about Shakespeare's message in The Merchant of Venice. Is it an anti-Semitic play or is Shylock's plea about his humanity and his right to revenge an attempt at a rehabilitation of the image of the Jews in English literature after so many anti-Semitic representations? Very recently, Yona Dureau was one of the first Shakespearean critics to prove that Shakespeare's works did indeed include more elements of Hebrew culture than just Shylock, Rebecca, Tubal, and the few references to the Jewish way of life contained in The Merchant of Venice. Her latest book, Shakespeare and Christian Cabbalah focuses on Shakespeare's indebtedness to the Christian kabbalah. She demonstrates that a number of the riddles found in Richard III, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and Twelfth Night are Hebrew puns or coded kabbalistic messages, and that Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night and Richard II are developed on kabbalistic themes.

Ghislain Muller goes one step further: he suggests that not only did Shakespeare have a good first-hand or second-hand knowledge of Jewish culture, but that he was himself a Jew.

Read more...

JEWISH HERITAGE N° 163 by Gilberte Jacaret

Two American Jews win Nobel Prize in Medicine,
Belgian Jew Nobel Prize in Physics

NEW YORK (EJP)Oct 8---Two American Jews and a German won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday, The New York Jewish Press reported, while one the two Nobel Prize in physics, awarded on Tuesday, is also Jewish.

The newest Jewish Nobel Prize winners in medicine are James Rothman of Yale University and Randy Schekman of the University of California. The third winner was Dr. Thomas Sudhof of Stanford University.

The three won the Nobel Prize for their insights into the traffic-control system for living cells — discoveries that the awards committee hopes will lead to future treatments for epilepsy, diabetes and immunological disorders.

Physicists François Englert of Belgium, a professor emeritus at the Free University of Brussels, and Peter Higgs of Britain won the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics ''for their discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles."

Englert, 80, who was raised in a Jewish family, is a Holocaust survivor. He is among others a Sackler Professor by Special Appointment in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Tel Aviv University.

The university has had "a deep connection" with Englert for many years, a spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

More than 20 percent of the 800 Nobel Prize winners so far have been Jewish although Jews represent only 0.2 percent of the world's population, the weekly newspaper noted.

Shoah survivor shares Nobel in physics
Ynet, Oct.9.13

Jewish Belgian Prof. François Englert, 81, grew up in Nazi-occupied Europe, married Israeli woman, serves as professor at Tel Aviv University. Nobel Committee awards him with prestigious prize for theory of how particles acquire mass, together with Scottish Prof. Peter Higgs, who is known as Israel boycotter
Dudi Goldman
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Nobel laureate Martin Karplus escaped Nazis when a small boy
Hindustan times, Oct 10 2013, AFP Stockholm, October 09, 2013

NOBEL PRIZE MEDECINE

Martin Karplus, one of three scientists who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday, escaped the Nazis and the Holocaust aged just eight-years-old, according to his autobiography. Karplus was born into a Jewish family in Vienna in 1930 and narrowly escaped Austria when Germany took control of the country in 1938, he wrote in a lengthy article in the Annual Review of Biophysics and Biomolecular Structure in 2006.

Karplus described how attitudes towards him and his family changed even before the Nazi takeover of Austria, and how two boys he and his brother had considered their best friends began bullying them.

"In the spring of 1937, they suddenly refused to have anything to do with us and began taunting us by calling us 'dirty Jew boys' when we foolishly continued to try to interact with them," he wrote.

When Nazi German troops rolled into Austria in March 1938, Karplus was able to escape to Switzerland with his brother and mother.

But in what he described as a "traumatic" aspect of the departure, his father was prevented from leaving and locked up in a Viennese jail.

"In part, he was kept as a hostage so that any money we had would not be spirited out of the country," he wrote.
As the small family secured passage to the United States and was preparing to embark on a trans-Atlantic journey at the French port of Le Havre, there was still no news of his father.

"He miraculously turned up at Le Havre a few days before our ship, the Ile de France, was scheduled to depart for New York," he wrote.

Karplus later learned that his uncle had signed a $5,000 bond for his release.

While Karplus, now 83, and his family were able to escape, many other Austrians Jews met a much more sinister fate.

"As history has recorded, many were not able to leave and died in concentration camps," he wrote.

Karplus went on to pursue a stellar academic career in the United States, getting a PhD in 1953 before making the discoveries that earned him the world's most prestigious award for the chemical science on Wednesday.





JEWISH CULTURE N° 162 by Gilberte Jacaret

THE YOM KIPPUR WAR

40 years on, the IDF finally emerges from the bunker
The 1973 war shaped the way in which Israel's military and intelligence saw strategic developments in the region. Now, with a new generation at the helm and new challenges in the Arab world, the IDF is beginning to adapt to the changes in and around it.
Haaretz, By Amos Harel | Sep. 13, 2013

For nearly four decades, the Yom Kippur War has cast its enormous shadow over the Israeli defense establishment. The trauma of 1973 shaped the way in which the establishment's leaders, Israel Defense Forces commanders and intelligence chiefs perceived the developments in the country's strategic reality, the way in which they treated intelligence information, and the precautions they took to prevent another military surprise. The images of the Israeli POWs on Mount Hermon, the desperate cries of the soldiers under attack at the Suez Canal strongholds, the angst-ridden consultations in the General Staff's underground headquarters − all of these not only left an ineradicable impression on the war's veterans, but also ended up being passed down to subsequent generations like a kind of Oral Law.

The war's influence was evident everywhere. It reinforced several basic elements shared by its veterans and those who came after them, which went unchallenged for many years: an inherent skepticism regarding what intelligence agencies really know about the enemy's intentions; the need to preserve broad margins of safety regarding the possibility of a surprise war erupting; and a basic lack of faith in the judgment of political leaders ‏(which grew still more pronounced after the duplicitous war in Lebanon in 1982‏). To this day, the soldiers at outposts on the Hermon and Golan Heights are still trained to cope with a surprise offensive of "Syrians on the fences," even though four decades have gone by.

Only in the past two years has the IDF begun to free itself slightly from the shadow and to adjust some of these longstanding conceptions to the new era. In part, this is a natural consequence of generations changing. Among the top defense brass, only Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and commander of the General Staff Corps, Maj. Gen. Gershon Hacohen, saw active duty in the war. Benny Gantz is the first IDF chief of staff since 1973 who has not been a veteran of that war; a month before it broke out, he had entered the ninth grade. The other generals on the General Staff today were in elementary school at the time. The current commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, Col. Eliezer Toledano, was born the week that Yom Kippur's paratroopers were fighting at the Chinese Farm. His colleague Golani Brigade commander Col. Yaniv Asor was a year old when the brigade re-conquered the Hermon.

But the conclusions from the Yom Kippur War, some still relevant today, are also being reexamined in view of the shakeup that took hold of the Arab world nearly three years ago. The deep processes still underway there, whose consequences are not yet clear, obligate Israel to take a new look at the region and at the potential military threats that it faces. The change in the nature of challenges will also gradually dictate a change in Israel's response and in the IDF's structure.

The intelligence failure is generally noted as the main reason for the Yom Kippur fiasco. The low probability the Military Intelligence Directorate ascribed on the eve of the war to the possibility of a coordinated Egyptian-Syrian offensive remains a source of eternal disgrace. But in its wake, together with the requisite need for relying on parallel evaluative bodies − and the insistence on allowing junior officers to express an independent opinion, even when it counters official assessments − there are also negative norms that became entrenched. These include a clear-cut tendency on the part of the evaluators to cover their asses, with the object of expressing all possible scenarios and thus preventing the possibility of future accusations of complacency and arrogance.
Only lately have there been growing signs that MI is kicking this nasty habit. This could be seen clearly two weeks ago when, in view of the American statements about an imminent attack in Syria, MI was not afraid to offer the assessment that only a low probability existed that Damascus would retaliate with military action against Israel. Presumably, the attacks this year against Syrian weapons convoys and depots, which have been ascribed abroad to the Israel Air Force, were accompanied by similar intelligence assessments.

The most dramatic change the Arab Spring has generated from Israel's standpoint concerns the depletion in the power of the conventional military threat posed by Arab states. The first days of the 1973 war revealed a numerical inferiority of the ground forces in the Golan Heights and Suez Canal and a difficulty in gaining air superiority in the face of the threat of anti-aircraft missiles. That was the tragic background that yielded the massive growth in the IDF's ground and air forces in the years after the war. The army created more and more armored divisions, determined that, as the saying goes, "Masada shall not fall again."

Thus was born what economists describe as the lost decade after the war, in which tremendous defense-related expenses paralyzed the economy. Likewise, in subsequent decades, the IDF concentrated on preparing for a major confrontation, mainly with the Syrian army. Even though in practice it dealt day-to-day with what was then termed "low-intensity wars" − such as guerrilla and terror confrontations with Hezbollah and the Palestinian organizations − a major military contest was seen as the primary scenario for which to prepare.

Even after Syria acknowledged its inferiority in the conventional realm, and focused its military's procurement and training on those areas where it felt it had an advantage ‏(steep-trajectory missiles and rockets, air-defense systems, fortifications and anti-aircraft missiles‏), the IDF continued to behave as though a war between armored divisions might break out at any moment.

Squirming in their seats

However, the enormous erosion in the Syrian military's ability since the civil war broke out there has led, belatedly, to a change in mindset on the Israeli side. This summer, in view of budget cuts, Chief of Staff Gantz drew up a plan for structural changes in the IDF that includes slashing the number of armored and artillery units and eliminating air force squadrons. The General Staff is convinced that the abilities developed in recent years − accurate intelligence, firepower from air and ground, and mainly the possibility of coordinating these components − will compensate for the damage the cutbacks will cause.

But it was riveting to see some of the veteran military commentators, so-called graduates of the Yom Kippur War, squirm in their seats as Gantz described his plan to them. Full support for it has come from Ya'alon, who declared that the military must change because future conflagrations will no longer look like the war of '73. Ya'alon, who fought during the war in Sinai as a reservist paratrooper and returned for an officer's course thereafter, has spoken out frequently in recent weeks about the lessons he learned, among other occasions, at a conference for IDF top brass about the war, held at the Palmahim base this week.

There he said: "One of the seeds of that war's failure was the great sense of victory of the Six-Day War, which led to excessive self-confidence, arrogance, complacency, carelessness. Senior officers had a culture then of 'I am, and there is no other beside me.' Immediately after I was appointed head of the MI Directorate in 1998, I set about reading the report of the Agranat Commission, and went to meet its protagonists, too. From them, I learned the extent of the tragedy: MI's leaders in those years were clearly excellent people. They were overcome, and not only they, by arrogance and immodesty. There was no room for another opinion, another view, different thinking."
Each of us, Ya'alon told the senior officers of today, "should maintain modesty and beware of the euphoria that follows successes. The challenge for all of us these days is to be alert to change, the pace of which is tremendous. The correct way is to encourage within the organization a culture that seems contrary to hierarchical military logic, in which the commander is the one who determines and knows. We need an organizational culture that encourages all ranks to be critical, to cast doubt, to reexamine basic assumptions, to get outside the framework and eventually act in keeping with operational discipline."

Ya'alon did not mention the issue of internal oversight. In the past decade, largely in response to the shock of the Second Lebanon War, a deeply troubling tendency has been exacerbated in the IDF, whereby senior officers toed the line and were afraid to criticize their commanders, after having concluded that such audacity would end up delaying their promotion. The first who dared point this out openly was Brig. Gen. Amir Abulafia, now the commander of a reservist division, who in an article in the military magazine Maarachot in 2010 criticized officers' fear of expressing an independent opinion.

Abulafia warned that the phenomenon imperils the IDF's ability to fulfill its purpose: protecting the country. Gantz, who is aware of the danger, is making a fierce effort to rescue the army from intellectual conservativeness. Ya'alon, who supports this, contends that, "in the IDF they are once more not afraid to think."

The Yom Kippur War highlighted other sensitive seam-lines, such as the mutual relations between the military command and the political leadership, the public and the media. Historians who have published studies of the war in recent years, among them Prof. Uri Bar Joseph and Dr. Yigal Kipnis, emphasized the refusal of Golda Meir's government to entertain diplomatic initiatives in the three years leading up to the war. The findings, some of them new, have intensified the feeling that the roots of the war's surprise lay also in a serious political fiasco − and these have led to numerous comparisons to the suspicious and sour attitude of Benjamin Netanyahu's government vis-a-vis peace efforts today.

On the other hand, criticism of politicians can come from another angle entirely: Today is also the anniversary of the Oslo Accords of 1993. To a large degree, the formative military experience of the generals on the current General Staff goes back to the years of combat against Palestinian terrorism, culminating in the second intifada, but which generally accelerated in the wake of Oslo. Moreover, on the eve of the shakeup in the Arab world, Netanyahu blocked recommendations − which had the vociferous support of the IDF − to move toward forging a peace treaty with the Assad regime that would have entailed giving back to Syria the entire Golan Heights. Where would Israel be today without that strategic asset?

It is hard, therefore, to draw definitive historical conclusions and make them fit a uniform ideological mold, when reality continues to change. But generally speaking, the approach to the peace process of the present General Staff, although not directly expressed in public, remains moderate and relatively sober-minded. Israel's generals are very far from the prevalent image of warmongers.

One of the main speakers at the conference in Palmahim this week was Prof. Yagil Levy, who focused on the war's effect on Israeli society ‏(the fact that an invitation was extended to Levy, who frequently attacks the IDF's conduct in the territories, attests to a new spirit in the Gantz era‏). Levy diagnoses in the Yom Kippur War the roots of long-term processes, primarily the mounting military burden on society, in terms of money and manpower and a concomitant increase in society's expectations from the IDF, as if to show that the increased burden is justified.

Today, Levy sees a tendency in the army to focus on professionalization, with the IDF seeking to compensate for a decline in people's willingness to sacrifice their sons in battle by means of improved technology, and to explain that trend by means of the market economy − an observation that met with discomfort among part of the audience at the conference.

In this relationship there is a third vertex to the triangle: media outlets. The military commentator for the website Ynet, Ron Ben-Yishai, this week wrote about his experiences as Israeli television's military correspondent during the '73 war and also gave links to footage of stories from previous years.
The IDF's confidence, the smugness despite the worrisome signs on the Egyptian side − these are clearly evident in the run-up to the war. The military correspondent himself says in passing, toward the end of an item from 1971, that the IDF will rely less on reservists "next time," because behind the enlisted forces in the strongholds will be the immense strategic expanse of Sinai.

Two years later, the immensity of that mistake became clear. Alongside the intelligence and diplomatic failings, Yom Kippur highlighted the total collapse of the arrogant perception that the flimsy order of battle of enlisted units on the borders would be enough to stop a Syrian and Egyptian offensive, should one even occur. The scorn for the Arabs' ability, following the victory in 1967, is apparently at the heart of the failure in 1973. Therein resides one of the main lessons of the war, which is relevant in 2013 as well, even if all the rest of the circumstances have changed: the need to take the potential rival with all seriousness and prepare accordingly.

The Yom Kippur War
By Elizabeth Stephens | Published in History TodayVolume: 58 Issue: 10 2008

Elizabeth Stephens examines how the surprise invasion of Israel by Egypt and its allies started the process that led to Camp David.

The impact of the Yom Kippur War that erupted on October 6th, 1973, far outweighed its relatively short duration of twenty days of heavy fighting. It severely tested the détente between the United States and the Soviet Union as the superpowers sought to defend the interests of their Middle East clients: Israel on the American side, Egypt and Syria on the Soviet side. The result was the most dangerous moment of the Cold War since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. American support proved critical to the survival of Israel at this seminal moment as the US-Israel special relationship, begun in 1967, was consolidated. The conflict is also remembered for triggering the first energy shock as Arab oil producers unleashed the oil weapon to punish the United States and its allies for their support of Israel. Finally, it set off a chain of events that culminated in the 1978 Camp David Accords, the landmark peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

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