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Colonel Levi Reveals: Israel Decided to Absorb the First Hit

Colonel Levi Reveals: Israel Decided to Absorb the First Hit
Just ten days after the ceasefire that ended the Yom Kippur War, on November, 5, 1973, "Ma'ariv LaNoar" published a comprehensive interview with Colonel Baruch Levi, the adviser to the Prime Minister on the subject of youth, previously the head of the youth battalions of the IDF and the brother of Moshe Levi, who would become the Chief of Staff. The interviewers are five "young journalists": Mordechai Shrir, Osnat Padni, Doron Arzi, Orit Golan and Yitzchak Hanegbi, now known as Tzachi Hanegbi, who served as a minister in numerous governments, as well as the chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Policy and Security Council. The interview is divided into two parts, published in consecutive editions of "Ma'ariv LaNoar", including three large pages in each edition.
Colonel Levi Reveals: Israel Decided to Absorb the First Hit​The young journalists show great seriousness. Everything interests them: the warning before the war, the recuitment of the reserve forces, intelligence assesments, consequences of "the failure", the implementation of the ceasefire, relations with the United States in light of the American air convoy during the course of the war, Israeli publicity or "propoganda", the Bar-Lev line, the conduct of the IDF spokesperson, death notices, the ability and necessity to attack civilian populations in Syria and Egypt, the demand for credit in light of the Suez Crossing, the need to establish an investigative committee, the danger of a conflict with the Soviet Union and the condition of the Arabs after the war.
Throughout the interview the sincerity of the youth stands out. Colonel Levi answers the questions seriously and in great detail. 40 years afterwards, we read his words and are amazed, not only by the format, the comprehensiveness and the tone, but also by the fact that so many of these things were said only a few days after the end of the war. Colonel Baruch Levi's statement from the first part of the interview is amazing even today:
"Imagine to yourselves, that two of you are walking along and wrestling with each other. Whoever can throw the first punch has the advantage, and despite the fact that we went into this knowing, due to all sorts of political-international considerations… this time the person who had to consider these matters, decided that it would better this time not to initiate a preventative war so as to not become embroiled".
Colonel Levi's words do no less than to admit that Israel knew it was going to be attacked, and decided not to make the first move. On the 5th of November, 1973, the Agranat Commission was far from being established, and yet an official spokesperson already revealed things that would shake the country for months and years afterwards.
  • 1. כתבי נוער מראיינים את אל"מ ברוך לוי
  • 2. המשך חלקו הראשון של הראיון, 5 בנובמבר 1973