The Yom Kippur War: A National Catastrophe

After the victory of the Six-Day War in 1967, it seemed like Israel was invincible. Less than a decade later, the country was taken by surprise by the outbreak of war on Yom Kippur 1973. Noam Weissman explores why — despite warnings — Israel’s leadership seemed so unprepared, why America urged Israel not to attack first and why this national catastrophe ultimately led to a strengthening of relationships with both the U.S. and Egypt.

  • Review
  • Discussion
  • Activities
  • Reflection
  • Further Learning
  1. What was Egypt’s objective in the Yom Kippur War?
    • To destroy Israel once and for all
    • To regain its honor after its humiliating defeat in 1967
    • To establish a Palestinian state
    • To humiliate Israel
  2. In what year did the Yom Kippur War take place?
    • 1948
    • 1956
    • 1967
    • 1973
  3. At the start of the war, Israel’s very survival was in question but by the end:
    • It was destroyed
    • Israel tripled in size
    • It was kilometers from Cairo and Damascus
    • Syria had taken over the Golan Heights
  4. During the Yom Kippur War, which country demonstrated its friendship to Israel?
    • France
    • England
    • USA
    • Germany
  5. The Yom Kippur War led to the eventual:
    • Downfall of Egypt
    • Peace treaty with Syria
    • Resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir
    • Peace treaty with Egypt
  1. What do you make of the Egyptian decision to launch a war against Israel on its holiest day?
  2. Can you think of a time when your over-confidence led to negative results? Was there a time you wish you had been more confident in yourself?
  3. Many say that the Yom Kippur war irrevocably shattered much of Israel’s soul. Describe the ways you agree with this and describe the ways in which you can see things differently.
  4. Golda Meir put on a stoic face even while experiencing internal anxiety and turmoil. Have you been in a situation where you had to mask your fears for the sake of others?
  5. After this war, every family in Israel had either lost a loved one or knew someone who did. What effect do you think this has on a country and a people?
  1. Play our Yom Kippur War Kahoot!
  2. Lead a podcast listening party. Download our PDF Guide.

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