A Valley Of Tears Where Israel Stopped Syria In 1973
A site in the Golan Heights memorializes the fallen members of the 77th Brigade, who fought a decisive battle in the Yom Kippur War.
On October 6, 1973 massive Syrian and Egyptian forces launched a surprise attack on the State of Israel. It was the holiest day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement, and Jews all over the country had been fasting and praying since dawn. No one in Israel on that fateful day will ever forget the piercing shriek of sirens which shattered the Yom Kippur silence and called men and women out of their homes and synagogues into uniform.
Syrian tanks penetrated Israel’s front lines on the first day of the Yom Kippur War and raced across the Golan Heights. Syria’s task force comprised of 700 tanks, against Israel’s 175; their infantry carried state-of-the-art anti-tank missiles which Israel hadn’t known were part of the Arab arsenal. Syria’s superior weaponry had a devastating effect on Israel’s tanks and, following a rapid advance into Israel, the Arabs stopped near Mitzpe Gadot, only five minutes from the Jordan river.
Israeli reservists who had been rushed into battle succeeded in blocking the Syrian advance on the second and third days of the war. Syria then intensified its efforts to break through Israeli lines.
On the fourth day of battle the Syrians launched a new and formidable attack from a valley north of Kuneitra. In a major assault hundreds of modern Arab tanks began moving up from the bottom of the valley hoping to take higher ground. Had they gained access to the plateau — located along today’s Route 98 — they would have been able to spread out their forces and control the central Golan Heights. From here it would have been easy to penetrate even deeper into Israel.