The Yom Kippur War

by Jordan Rouse


The Yom Kippur War, also known as the October War, was a conflict between the Jewish state of Israel and the Arab states of Syria and Egypt.

The war began on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Israel was not expecting an attack, so they were ill-prepared, and almost lost before the war even began.

The war lasted from October 6th to October 25th, 1973.

The Arab coalition launched the first attack against Israel. The attack was carried out in hopes to regain the land taken by Israel during the Six Day War, but Israel was successful in protecting their country.

Today in History: The Yom Kippur War


October 6-25, 1973.

What/ Why/ How

Israel has been ostracized and attacked by the surrounding Arab states since its creation in 1948.

Britain had occupied much of the middle east in WWI and WWII, and it promised to create a two-state nation with one side being Jewish and the other side Arab.

Israel was formed, but there was never any Arab state created, forcing the people of the former country of Palestine to move to other nearby nations, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt.

The Six Day war of 1967 resulted in great losses for the Arabs, in the form of both casualties and stolen land. The Arabs hoped to gain enough land in the Yom Kippur war to negotiate with Israel, but their goal was not achieved.

This war was fought by land, air, and sea.


  • 375,000 troops
  • 1,700 tanks
  • 2,688 killed
  • 7,500 wounded
  • 530 taken prisoner
  • 440 aircraft
  • 150,000 troops
  • 1,200 tanks
  • 3,500 killed
  • 21,000 wounded
  • 370 taken prisoner
  • 650,000 troops
  • 1,700 tanks
  • 15,000 killed
  • 30,000 wounded
  • 9,000 taken prisoner
  • 400 aircraft


  • Israel’s victory came at the cost of heavy casualties, and Israelis criticized the government’s lack of foresight. In April 1974, the nation’s prime minister, Golda Meir, resigned.

  • Even though this was yet another military loss for Egypt, the initial Egyptian successes helped to increase the reputation of Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat in the Middle East, and gave him an opportunity to seek peace. In 1974, the first of two Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreements were signed, providing for the return of parts of the coveted Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt . In 1979, Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the first peace agreement between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors. In 1982, Israel fulfilled the 1979 peace treaty by returning the last segment of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

  • For Syria, the Yom Kippur War was a catastrophe. The unexpected Egyptian-Israeli cease-fire exposed Syria to military defeat, and Israel seized even more territory in the Golan Heights. In 1979, Syria voted with other Arab states to expel Egypt from the Arab League.

Works Cited

Arab-Israeli Wars. Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition [serial Online]. September 2013;:1. Available From: Middle Search Plus, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 26, 2014.

"Golda Meir: Quote on the Yom Kippur War." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2001. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. <>.

Hampton, Wilborn. War in the Middle East: A Reporter's Story: Black September and the Yom Kippur War. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2007. Print.

House, Jonathan M. "The Yom Kippur War: 40 Years Ago: Background." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2001. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <>.

Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, comp. The Yom Kippur War. Reprint Edition ed. N.p.: I, 2002. Print.

Rabinovich, Abraham. The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. New York: Schocken, 2004. 54. Print.

Shazly, Saad. The Crossing of the Suez. San Francisco: American Mideast Research, 1980. Print.

Tucker, Spencer C. "Battle of Baltim." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2001. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. <>.

Tucker, Spencer C. "Battle of Latakia." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2001. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. <>.

"Yom Kippur War." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2001. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. <>.