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Israeli veteran calls 1973 war a necessary 'slap in the face'

Brigadier General Avigdor Kahalani, a veteran of the Golan front in the 1973 war, says Israel's lack of preparedness for the conflict proved a timely wake-up call
— Tel Aviv (AFP)

A decorated Israeli veteran of tank battles on the Syrian front in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Avigdor Kahalani remembers the conflict, despite its heavy toll, as a "slap in the face" Israel needed.

The twin attack by Egypt and Syria on October 6 caught Israel by surprise on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar -- Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement -- when the nation comes to a virtual standstill.

When the fighting erupted, Kahalani was a 29-year-old lieutenant-colonel commanding the 77th tank battalion in the Golan Heights that overlook Syria.

He had only just returned to active duty after spending a year in hospital for follow-up treatment of severe burns he had suffered in the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict.

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