Learning the Right Lessons from the Yom Kippur War

The new year of 2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, which began when the IDF was caught off guard by a coordinated, simultaneous attack by Syria and Egypt. Although the war lasted a mere twenty days and concluded with a resounding Israeli victory, its disastrous beginning led to the postwar Agranat Commission investigating how the country’s leaders ignored or dismissed various warnings of the impending invasion. Amir Oren, examining the commission’s findings, argues that its highest-ranking officer, Yigael Yadin, put too much emphasis on the failures of the Department of Military Intelligence (DMI or Aman), and not enough on those of then-Prime Minister Golda Meir and her storied defense minister Moshe Dayan:

The sins of the Agranat Commission became gradually evident as its bias and secrets were exposed and declassified. Yadin went easy on Golda Meir because he wanted to join her cabinet. Meir’s meeting with Jordan’s King Hussein one week before the war on September 25, when he warned her that the Syrian military was on “pre-jump positions,” came up in her closed-door testimony but was only revealed to the public fifteen years later—a decade after her death. Meir and Dayan were depicted as being wholly dependent on the DMI’s assessment; therefore, if the DMI was mistaken, they were not at fault.

In reality, Israel’s political leadership made the wrong call. On the eve of Yom Kippur 1973, Israel’s leaders thought that acting upon war indicators would be more costly than inaction, especially three weeks before an election, and believed that the worst-case scenario could not be that bad. Meir and Dayan were confident in the IDF’s ability to repel an invasion easily and go on a counter-offensive.

Yet despite the deficiencies of its assessments, Oren argues that the recommendations of the commission did much good:

The Agranat Commission’s reform of Israel’s intelligence community did . . . bring about one very positive result—fresh brainpower, recruited out of academia and the military to staff the new research and analysis organs. They went on to other positions as spies, diplomats, and managers across the Mossad and the Foreign Ministry, a big plus for their employers and the entire system.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Golda Meir, Intelligence, Israeli history, Moshe Dayan, Yom Kippur War

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University