Israel Defence Force helicopter during the Yom Kippur War (Credit: בני הדר / IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Fifty years ago, Israel was attacked by surrounding nations on her holiest day. We can still learn lessons from her miraculous survival

by Charles Gardner

Israeli PM Golda Meir
Israeli PM Golda Meir (Credit: Public domain)

Amid much internal conflict in Israel, we now look back on 50 years since the Yom Kippur War of autumn 1973 which coincides, appropriately, with the launch of the movie ‘Golda’ – about the legendary Israeli prime minister at the time.

President Richard Nixon called a worldwide US military alert, putting 2.3 million men on standby

I was a new Christian then, little realising that the fresh conflict raging in the Middle East could well have blown up into World War 3 or even Armageddon itself.

An unprovoked attack against the Jewish state took them by complete surprise on their holiest day of the year when they were resting, fasting and praying. It was the Day of Atonement (known as Yom Kippur) when Jews seek forgiveness for their sins and put things right with neighbours they may have wronged.

But Egypt, from the south, and Syria, from the north, launched a co-ordinated onslaught, massing 1,200 tanks on the Golan Heights, which should have crushed the young nation then just 25 years old.

The Lord replied: “My enemy is seeking to precipitate Armageddon”

Looking out over the Jezreel Valley
Looking out over the Jezreel Valley, site of the predicted battle of Armageddon

According to the late Bible teacher Lance Lambert, who was in Israel at the time hostilities broke out, “there were more tanks on the Syrian front than in the 1941 German offensive against Russia.”

Israeli forces crossing the Suez Canal
Israeli forces crossing the Suez Canal (Credit: Israel Defense Forces, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Egypt attacked with 3,000 tanks, 2,000 heavy guns, 1,000 aircraft and 600,000 men. On the Syrian side, Israel could muster only 70 tanks and looked as if it would be flattened. But just as it seemed her soldiers would be overrun, the invading forces inexplicably stopped their advance, allowing Israel time to regather.

Nevertheless, without divine intervention, Israel was doomed. Many began calling on God for help, and it was Christians with an understanding of God’s purposes for Israel who played a hugely significant role by interceding on their behalf, notably at the Bible College of Wales, where Samuel Howells, son of legendary intercessor Rees Howells, led intense times of prayer. He felt such a strong burden that he asked God what it meant, to which the Lord replied: “My enemy is seeking to precipitate Armageddon.”

Leonid Brezhnev sent a large warship armed with ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads across the Mediterranean to Alexandria in Egypt in an apparent bid to solve the problem unilaterally.

President Richard Nixon responded by calling a worldwide US military alert, putting 2.3 million men on standby – the first such alert since the Cuban crisis of 1962. The warship duly weighed anchor and sailed back to the Black Sea, bringing Israel – and the world – back from the brink.

Nixon’s intervention was much more than a useful diversion from his Watergate troubles, when he authorised illegal activities in pursuit of being reelected.

Soldier prays during the 1973 Yom KippurWar
Soldier prays during the 1973 Yom Kippur War (Credit: אבי שמחוני / IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

For when Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir called Nixon for help, he remembered what his mother had told him – and disaster was averted.

Years later Nixon recalled: “When she was talking, I could hear my mother reading stories from the Old Testament to me when I was a boy…

“I could hear her tell me: ‘One day Richard, you will be in a situation where the Jewish people will need your help. When that day comes, do everything in your power to help them.’ “It confirmed all my instincts, and I knew I had to act. I suddenly realised why I had become president of the United States. It was the moment I had to do what I had to do.”

Meanwhile 76-year-old Golda Meir went without sleep in order to visit wounded soldiers in hospital.

According to Lambert, soldiers who knew their Bibles – especially ‘Jewish Christians’ – were in great demand as there was much talk of Armageddon with many aware that the Jewish prophets had spoken about these things.

There was a run on Bibles, and prayer books were also in great demand. Indeed, based on interviews with soldiers, “a surprisingly high number of them went into the war as atheists and came out as ‘believers’,” Lambert reported in his 1975 book ‘Battle for Israel’.

Orthodox Israeli women practise using their guns
Orthodox Israeli women practise using
their guns (Credit:

As we continue to experience many horrors today, it’s a great opportunity for Christians and Messianic Jews to answer the questions and allay the fears of many who are so confused and afraid.

However, we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).

Just as it seemed Israel’s soldiers would be overrun, the invading forces inexplicably stopped their advance

Israel survived in 1973 because God intervened and, through Jesus (Yeshua), offers ultimate atonement for his people through the sacrificial death on the cross of his beloved Son.

A highly significant point made in Lambert’s book, when discussing the biblical prophecies of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39), was that Iran was the only nation mentioned among those who would attack Israel from the north “which has not set itself against Israel”.

This is a reminder that Israel and Iran were once friends. The Iranian revolution was shortly to follow and changed all that, with the Ayatollahs now determined to destroy the Jewish state. So the confederacy of nations set to attack Israel in the last days is now complete. It’s time to pray and seek the Lord.

As Lambert puts it, “The peace of the whole world is increasingly dependent upon the peace of Jerusalem.”

Palestinian goal exposed

Former US academic and darling of the left, Sami al-Arian, has revealed what many already know – that the goal of Palestinian jihad is not a Palestinian state, but the demise of the Jewish state.

Speaking on Al Jazeera, he said: “In my view, the Palestinian cause is not about creating a state, like everybody says. It is not about a one-state solution or a two-state solution. The Palestinian cause has to do with the very presence of Zionism in the region. Therefore, our greatest strategic goal is to dismantle the state of Israel, which means uprooting Zionism from Palestine.”

Death camp inquiry

The Government has announced an official investigation into the only Nazi concentration camp on British soil in a bid to discover how many people died there during World War 2.

Lord Eric Pickles ordered the review into what took place on the Channel Island of Alderney, saying the appointed panel would identify “the most accurate number of people who died” in the camps. The official number of deaths is 389, but historians have for years claimed the true figure could be significantly higher.

A 2017 investigative report by former top British army officers claimed the number of deaths was around 40,000-70,000, including many Jews.

£100k legal aid for murderer

The man who murdered Tory MP Sir David Amess received over £100,000 in legal aid for his trial, it has emerged. Ali Harbi Ali repeatedly stabbed Sir David at his constituency surgery in Essex in October 2021. He admitted killing but denied murder, claiming he was protecting fellow Muslims.

British cyclist Chris Froome
British cyclist Chris Froome recently cycled the Israel National Trail (Credit: Chris Froome, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Israel adventure for cycling legend

British cycling legend Chris Froome recently embarked on a two-day cycling adventure of the Israel National Trail. From mountain biking in the Negev desert to rattling through Jerusalem’s Old City, Froome experienced the diverse wonders of the trail, with his journey serving as an invitation for others to explore the country.

Golda actress wins award

Dame Helen Mirren
Dame Helen Mirren (pictured in 2020) heard “a few shells going off in the grapevines” while on a kibbutz in the 1960s (Credit: Harald Krichel, CC BY-SA 3.0)

British actress Dame Helen Mirren won an achievement award at the Jerusalem Film Festival ahead of the Israeli premiere of the movie Golda.

She said she was thrilled to be honoured for playing the legendary former Prime Minister Golda Meir, who faced the unthinkable during the surprise Yom Kippur War 50 years ago.

Mirren recounted her time on a kibbutz in the Golan Heights just after the 1967 Six-Day War when there were still “a few shells going off in the grapevines”.

BBC’s plethora of mistakes

The BBC’s Arabic news channel has issued more than 130 corrections following complaints of bias and inaccuracy in reports about Israel and Jewish affairs since the beginning of 2021 – an average of more than one every week, the Jewish Chronicle revealed. The sheer volume of corrections was a signal that recent attempts to reform the service had failed, according to media watchdog CAMERA Arabic (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis).

Students urged to be “holy warriors”

A London-based student organisation is accused of hosting senior commanders of the Iranian regime’s paramilitary group who spouted antisemitism and fundamentalist propaganda. The Islamic Students Association of Britain, thought to have a presence on campuses across the UK, was found to have organised a series of contentious talks. One commander said students should see themselves as “holy warriors” and be ready to fight in the coming apocalyptic war. The association has denied organising ‘physical’ events or having any ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Countdown presenter honoured

Rachel Riley has received an MBE at Windsor Castle for her work in raising awareness of the Holocaust and combating antisemitism. The 37-yearold Countdown presenter, who has a Jewish mother, was honoured for her services to Holocaust education as an avid campaigner. She was also a vocal critic of Labour’s handling of alleged antisemitism within the party.

In brief…

■ Diverse voices within the Arab-Israeli community have fiercely criticized the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, highlighting a significant disconnect between the movement, which is mostly active outside the country, and the way it adversely affects the people it claims to support.

■ Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has blasted Republican businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who has vowed to be Israel’s best friend if he wins the 2024 presidential election, despite promising to cut aid to the Jewish state. Ex-South Carolina governor Nikki retorted: “It’s not that Israel needs America; America needs Israel.”

■ Pro-Israel and openly Jewish professors at the City University of New York who raised the alarm about an atmosphere of pervasive antisemitism on campus are now being investigated by the institution.

■ Israel has recently been ranked as the country with the highest cost of living among developed nations.

■ Libya’s PM has suspended his foreign minister after she met with her Israeli counterpart.

Israel’s bitter internal struggle worsens and Biden’s secret Iran deal is revealed

The onset of the autumn’s high holy days saw the usual news mixture from the Promised Land. The autumn feasts comprise the Blowing of Trumpets, also known as the Head of the Year, followed by the Day of Atonement and then the Feast of Tabernacles.

Israelis’ living expenses have skyrocketed
Israelis’ living expenses have skyrocketed;
milk, bread, and cheese are 50 to 70 per cent higher than the OECD average (Credit –

Some good news: Papua New Guinea (PNG) inaugurated its embassy in Jerusalem in September when PNG’s prime minister James Marape stated: “As Christians, paying respect to God would not be complete without recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” PNG joins the US, Guatemala, Honduras and Kosovo, each of which already have an embassy in Israel’s capital city. Paraguay, Sierra Leone, Hungary and Fiji may shortly follow suit.

Less good news: the deep divisions created by the current coalition Government’s attempts to bring muchneeded reform to Israel’s judicial system, especially to the Supreme Court, continue to tear at the heart of Israeli society. Now professional groups have joined other trade unionists in the antiGovernment movement’s attempts to bring down Prime Minister Netanyahu.

As Israel’s full Supreme Court panel of 15 judges assesses the “reasonableness” legislation passed in July, a potential constitutional crisis looms. Some anti-reform leaders recently called members of the current coalition “Nazis” – an unthinkable slur.

Is it humanly possible to heal the wounds that have been opened by over eight months of protests and, at times, near-open rebellion? Nothing less than the removal of Netanyahu will placate many protesters.

President Isaac Herzog has renewed his attempts to mediate between the Government and the anti-reform Knesset members. Netanyahu is willing to pause further reform legislation for up to two years, but the opposition leaders, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, are refusing to enter negotiations. What will the God of Israel have to do to restore true unity?

In addition, terror attacks on Israeli citizens are increasing, while mounting numbers of Arab-Israelis are dying due to inter-communal violence, often due to family/clan feuds, or mafia-like territorial disputes connected with drug trafficking and associated criminal activities.

Then there is the ‘nasty’ news. Israel’s enemies openly boast that the “Zionist entity” is about to crumble. Iran has been increasing its involvement with terrorist groups in Judea and Samaria, while continuing to support Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and other Islamist terror entities in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and further afield.

Appallingly, the Biden administration has been facilitating all this terrorist activity through the $6 billion hostage payment it recently agreed with Iran. In return, Biden merely requested that Iran refrain from crossing the nuclear threshold and release five US hostages. This current, ‘unofficial’ deal bypasses the need for Congressional oversight. According to the New York Post, the prisoner swap was part of a “secret, illegal” agreement initiated in May, when “a top White House official visited Oman to pass a message to Tehran,” expressing Washington’s desire “to broker a nuclear deal in secret”.

Robin BensonWhile not surprised by this scheming, the God of Israel will not be pleased with the nations who continue to do business with Tehran’s Islamist regime – including the UK, Russia, China and several in the EU.

This is yet another reason why many nations are experiencing God’s judgement. Will we ever learn?

Robin Benson has reported on current events in Israel for many years. He appears regularly on Revelation TV’s ‘Politics Today’ and ‘Middle East Report’

China’s Church is pro-Israel; democracy doesn’t come into it

China’s house churches would support Israel regardless of its form of government, suggests Ryan Jones of Israel Today. Could this remind Western Christians that prayer for the Land should be based on God’s promises and not on an idolisation of democracy? A pastor from China told Israel Today that their “support for Israel is more spiritual than political,” and that they honour Israel as their spiritual “‘older brother’, who has suffered so much to bless us with God’s Word.”

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