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"When the Order is Given, We will Spring Forward, Strike and Destroy"

"When the Order is Given, We will Spring Forward, Strike and Destroy"
Immediately after the war broke out, on the 6th of October, the military command began to publish daily orders and printed messages meant for the newspapers that were distributed on the fronts and in the various posts. These included a mixture of encouragements, expressions of exuberance for battle and the huge effort being made to lift the morale of the soldiers. With every day that passed these missives began to also include supportive information, updates and publicity material. The publicity campaign was wide ranging and dynamic, and had a number of targets. On the one hand, the publicity was meant to encourage the soldiers, update them a little and to give them a feeling that they were part of a larger picture. On the other hand, as the publications widened, they were clearly meant for the non-combat units and the public.

"When the Order is Given, We will Spring Forward, Strike and Destroy"Sharp Language, Strong Words

In the daily manifestoes from the north and south commands, the language is sharp and the words are strong: "The Syrian tanks are being turned into bonfires, their cannons are shattered and their posts are besieged… we are the wall that protects the nation of Israel and on it we will smash the evil arm of the enemy… when the order is given, we will spring forward, strike and destroy," says the major-general of the Northern Command, Yitzhak Hofi in, Military Manifesto  No. 1. He doesn't describe an exact reality, but instead expresses leadership and strength of spirit. His colleague in the Southern Command, Major-General Shmuel Gonen ("Gorodish") also doesn't curb his inspiring and decisive words: "We require quick and decisive action. We must strike the enemy, we must chew him up, drag his forces into the desert and finish him there… after, we will reach the decisive stage, in which we will bring the battle to his country, his land, to his courtyard and his heart."


Creating a Picture of Success

Meanwhile, in the Central Regional Command, on the 8th of October, the military manifestoes hurried to depict a picture of success during some of the most difficult moments of the war: "…the Egyptian bridges over the Suez have been blown up and the Egyptian army in Sinai is surrounded and has been hit hard... the first stage is coming to an end, the holding action was carried out bravely, and, as of now, the initiative is totally in our hands. Our forces are striking the enemy and crushing it, as is fitting. This is the devastating blow that the Minister of Defense promised the enemy when the fighting broke out."  The manifesto ends with "gmar chatima tova" (the traditional blessing for a good judgment in Yom Kippr) and a quotation from II Samuel, 22: 38: "I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; neither did I turn back till they were consumed."

Humor, Information and Victory in Sight

In the same publication from the Central Regional Ccommand, on the parallel page, next to an illustration of a lion  the symbol of the command  defeating an Arab soldier, two warnings from the field security department, and also a few jokes appear. A mocking tone towards Arabs in the spirit of the days after the Six Day War stands out in the cheerful writing. The arrogance of the powerful victory in 1967 was transformed into encouragement in an attempt to raise morale.
If the beginning of the war saw short telegraphic messages that mostly express stubbornness, decisiveness and a helping encouraging spirit, as the war went on, the official publications became more varied, wider and were aimed in different directions. Information, encouragement, news from the front, a little bit of humor, caricatures, information about the enemy's airplanes, pictures of the IDF forces bringing the war to the enemies territory, and warnings against revealing information to the enemy are all present. In the end, explanations regarding the ceasefire, pats on the back of the soldiers and condolences to the families of the fallen began to appear.
  • 1. Northern Command: Military Manifesto No. 1, when the war broke out
  • 2. Northern Command: Military Manifesto No. 2, stopping the enemy
  • 3. Command Newspaper: Identification of enemy planes
  • 4. Instructions to Commanders: "Judgment Day"
  • 5. Central Command: Military Manifesto, October 8, 1973
  • 6. Southern Command: Military Manifesto No. 1, October 10, 1973
  • 7. Southern Command: Military Manifesto No. 2, the breach
  • 8. "Machatz", Military Newsletter, Northern Command, October 12, 1973