(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Speaking at a solemn ceremony Sunday marking the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Israel yearned to attain peace treaties with all its neighbors. "The victory of the IDF in the Yom Kippur War paved the way for interim military agreements and the peace treaty between us and Egypt," Mofaz said.
"Our yearning was and remains to put an end to the era of wars and bloodshed and expand the circle of peace with all of our neighbors," Mofaz added.
Addressing a bereaved crowd of relatives of soldiers who fell in that war and in the War of Attrition, Mofaz spoke of the need to see the war in its proper light.
Revealing the historical truth, Mofaz concluded, was critical to gleaning lessons from the past.
"One can't distort the truth and describe the war as a series of failures. The great victory of warriors on the battlefield who brought us salvation cannot be blurred," Mofaz said at the official ceremony on Mt. Herzl.
Mofaz, who fought in the war deep behind Syrian lines as the commander of an elite unit, recalled the military achievements Israel was able to make after Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Judaism's most holy day.
"[IDF combatants] were the ones who brought our artillery in range of Damascus," Mofaz emphasized.
The defense minister reiterated the raison d'etre of the nation as a democratic state with a Jewish majority and defensible borders that serves as a national homeland for all Jews around the world.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz read out of his diary entry from October 16, 1973, recalling his attack on Egyptian fortifications near Port Said. He also recalled how on this day 32 years ago forces led by Ariel Sharon had managed to cross the Suez Canal and take the war to the enemy.