'Yom Kippur War shows it's almost impossible to predict conflict,' Rivlin says

Speaking at a special state ceremony honoring the fallen of the war, the president said that it was incumbent upon Israelis to continue to criticize their leadership.

September 24, 2015 12:54
2 minute read.
Then-prime minister Golda Meir (R) and her defense minister, Moshe Dayan, meet with Israeli soldiers

Then-prime minister Golda Meir (R) and her defense minister, Moshe Dayan, meet with Israeli soldiers at a base on the Golan Heights after intense fighting during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The tragedy of the Yom Kippur War in which the nation was caught unprepared remains an open wound, President Reuven Rivlin said on Thursday at the memorial service on Mount Herzl Military Cemetery commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the war.

A repeat of the 1973 war cannot be ruled out since it is "impossible" to predict when renewed conflict will arise, Rivlin said.

In a reference to Israel’s ongoing preoccupation with the lessons learned from the Yom Kippur War in which so many lives were needlessly lost and so much heroism remained unrecognized, Rivlin said that it was not some futile investigation, but a matter of great significance that impacts on Israel’s existence as a society and a state.

Even today, observed Rivlin, there is great relevance in studying the role of Israeli civil society, the relationship of the leadership to society and the heavy responsibility of the leadership and its public servants as well as the right of Israeli society to be critical of its leaders.

Alluding to revelations in recently declassified documents, Rivlin said that society must continue hour by hour and day by day to ask probing questions with respect and with courage, and the leadership must be ready to answer those questions with absolute transparency and to act in good faith and with responsibility.  That, in Rivlin’s view is the essence of democracy.

Turning to representatives of the families of the more than 2,600 soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Yom Kippur War, Rivlin said that the war has continued to haunt us for more than forty years, and time has not healed our loss.

Rivlin chose to single out Uri Avissar who was the communications man in Regiment 196 of the Armored Corps on the southern front. Last year, his father Nathan, still stubbornly insisted on visiting the grave here on Mount Herzl, said Rivlin, but he died this summer at the age of 103, never ceasing until his dying day to think of the son he had lost and what sort of life he would have had led had he not been killed..

At the conclusion of the service, Rivlin visited several of the graves of fallen soldiers, and stopped to speak to members of their families including Yossi Avissar, the brother of Uri and the son of Nathan, who like his father before him, will continue to visit Uri’s grave year after year on the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.

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