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Remembering the Failures Of the Yom Kippur War

The legacy of "failure" in the Yom Kippur War still affects Israel's political and military leadership.
Israeli Major General in the Reserves Ariel Sharon (2nd R), Lieutenant General Haim Bar Lev (3rd L) and Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan (C) confer October 17, 1973 during the 1973 Middle East War in this handout photo released by the Government Press Office. Surgeons battled to keep Sharon alive on January 5, 2006 after a massive brain haemorrhage felled the Israeli prime minister in the midst of his fight for re-election on a promise to end conflict with the Palestinians. ISRAEL OUT BW ONLY REUTERS/Go
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In a candid conversation between Yitzhak Rabin and the journalist Niva Lanir for Davar Israeli in 1980, the late prime minister reconstructed the days following the interim conclusions of the Agranat Commission, the national commission of inquiry into the failure of the Yom Kippur War. In his conversation with Lanir, Rabin, who served as the minister of labor and welfare in Prime Minister Golda Meir’s government, recounted the shock he felt when he understood that Meir and Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan intend to adopt Agranat’s conclusions, which absolved them of responsibility for Israel’s unpreparedness for war and placed it fully on the military.

“There was no chance that I would accept the conclusions of the report,” said Rabin. “There was not and there will not be a chance that I would place responsibility on the military, if it’s not also placed on the political ranks who are in charge of it. The expression 'I boiled with anger' is an understatement of an understatement to describe what I felt. The government should have rejected the report. I left the meeting furious about the process from its start, about the findings and the willingness of the prime minister and the minister of defense to accept them.”

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