The Yom Kippur War Syndrome


By Prof. Paul Eidelberg


This was the title of an article of mine written on October 8, 1990, almost on the 17th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, a war whose Jewish casualties might have been minimized had IsraelТs Government, which possessed advanced knowledge of the planned attack, had preempted as it did in the Six-Day War.


In any event, the article was occasioned by Arab riots on the Temple Mount during the Jewish holiday of Succot.а The Arabs had placed above the Western Wall thousands of stones, blocks, and boulders in preparation for an attack on Jews worshipping below.а Such a large number of objects, I pointed out, could not have escaped the notice of the police. And surely the police had no doubt as to who were the intended victims of those lethal objects. Some 3000 Arabs had gathered on the Temple Mount, and not to pray, for October 8 was a Monday, not a Friday.а


I then raised the question:а УAs the Moslems began to gather on the Temple Mount in more than usual numbers, why didnТt the police disperse them?а Or, when the Moslems grew too numerousЧbut far short of the 3000Чwhy werenТt reinforcements called in to protect Jewish worshippers below from being injured or stoned to death?Ф


Enter the Yom Kippur War Syndrome, for I immediately concluded that the Government, informed of the ominous situation, had instructed the police not to take any action until violence broke out.а УNeeded,Ф I said, Уwas a casus belli.а Not until Arabs threw stones down on the Jews worshipping belowЧor Е only after such an attack, when their own lives were in dangerЧwas it permissible for the police to use lethal force against Moslem riotersЕ.


УThe Arabs had to be given the first strike.а The Government allowed them to initiate hostilities lest IsraelТs image be sullied by the media.а [But Arab propaganda had been planned in advance:а the Arabs had news releases ready for the media before the first Arab casualties reached the hospitals!]а It was naively believed [by the Government] that truth would prevail, the truth about the ArabsТ planned and unprovoked attack on Jewish worshipper at the Western Wall.а [Unsurprisingly, Israel was condemned for using Сexcessive force.Т]


УSimilarly,Ф I continued, Уit is naïve and dangerous to think Е that a Government more promptly attuned to the media is the key to foiling Arab manipulation of journalists who profit in the coin of fabricated and instant news.а Much more significant things are necessary than [spin doctors]Ф


I then concluded:а УWhat Israel needs, in the final analysis, is a Government composed of different kinds of Jews.а I mean Jews who are less concerned about IsraelТs image, Jews who do not take their bearing from the media or from what other nations may think.а Needed is a Government that is first and foremost concerned about the sanctity of Jewish life and the safety of every single JewЕ. Once Israel is known to have such a Government, it will not be necessary to launch preemptive strikes against its enemies.Ф


The Yom Kippur War Syndrome continues to dominate IsraelТs Government.а Unless a new kind of Government arises, that syndrome will allow the Arabs to strike first even when it comes to weapons of mass destruction.а (Recall how the Government remained passive while 39 Iraqi Scud missiles fell on Israel in 1991.)


But how are we get a new kind of Government with Jews free from the Yom Kippur War Syndrome? I see only one sensible approach to this enormous problem: the formation of a Уshadow governmentФ!а Here I can offer only some general ideas which of course will have to be fleshed out.


The shadow governmentа should consist of approximately ten committees which more or less parallel government ministries.а Each committee must be chaired by a competent, respected, and tradition-oriented person unsullied by politics.а Needed to lead this shadow government is a person possessing presidential ability, a person who fears G-d more than men.а


The shadow government will initiate a grassroots movement led by young men and women capable or enlightening the public about the destructive flaws inherent in IsraelТs present system of government and how these flaws may be remedied.а At an appropriate moment, the shadow government will present itself to the public as a political force capable of guiding the nation on its true path.а The concepts and institutional program for this shadow government are set forth in my book Jewish Statesmanship: Lest Israel Fall.а


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