‘Maybe we should bomb Damascus?’: Yom Kippur War deliberations declassified

Defense Ministry releases transcripts of government meetings during 1973 conflict, showing the leadership’s uncertainty and concerns in the first few days of fighting

Then-head of the IDF Northern Command Maj. Gen. Yizhak Hofi, left, speaks to then-IDF chief of staff David Elazar, right, and other IDF top officers during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in an undated photograph. (Defense Ministry Archive)

The Israeli government and military feared during the early days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War that without a decisive victory on at least one front, the world would no longer believe the Jewish state could defend itself, according to transcripts of previously classified cabinet meetings and top-level security discussions that were released by the Defense Ministry on Thursday.

“I have been living — since the beginning of the campaign — with the feeling that we cannot leave [the war] in a situation that the world says: That’s it. What we thought about Israel and the [Israel Defense Forces]: That’s it,” then-prime minister Golda Meir said during one such meeting on the night of October 10, the fifth day of the war.

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