A summary of Yeshayahu Gavish's

​A summary of Yeshayahu Gavish's, Southern Command's Commander, evidence and his speech at the conclusion of the war

pp. 1-4

A deliberation at the General Staff about the severity of the threat in the south. Considering moving troops and the need for further mobilization.

pp. 5-6

Outcomes of the General Staff deliberation – a trickle of forces with no real plan.

Explaining counter offensive plan.

The IDF's plans (two) of offence in the Sinai Peninsula.

p. 7

The faults of the plans previously presented "I must say that these plans, although approved in principle, were not covered by enough means… there was nowhere to mobilize these means, therefore, a big question mark was hanging above it all."

p. 8

Discussing the plan, presented, according to Gavish, by the Chief of Staff, to exchange the Gaza Strip for the Tiran straits. Gavish: "We sensed that people were casting doubts on the IDF's capabilities, that we were incapable of attacking and destroying the enemy. Therefore the plan called for a limited retaliation act, and if the Egyptian army will attack, we shall defeat it on the defensive."

Gavish's objection to the plan

pp. 9-10

A compromise plan of an offensive beyond the Gaza Strip, towards El-Arish. Gavish explains to Ezer Weizmann his objections to the plan, describing a serious offensive. Ezer objects to the idea, orders an offensive without the Chief of Staff/Minister of Defense's knowledge. Next morning it was canceled because it was not approved.

pp. 11-12

Gavish describes a meeting with Rabin the next morning. Rabin claims no knowledge of these plans and orders "it was not an easy task to move all the forces in one night, on somebody's whim." Two days later a discussion with Moshe Dayan. Dayan's attitude to the plans and the war.

Rabin recovers. A new estimate of the situation. Since the 4th (Egyptian) Division has been already in Sinai, it is decided to attack in the northern axis as well.

pp. 13-14

Discussing the timing. Whether to attack in tandem with the air force, of wait for air supremacy. It was decided to wait until 14:00, without consulting the IAF.

pp. 15-17

Presenting the plan to the Chief of Staff. Bar-Lev changes the plan to include a reinforcement of the northern axis. Further discussions about the offensive's timing.

pp. 18-19

The Decision: "Go for it! You have 72 hours! We shall see what will happen next!" did Yitzhak Hofi ordered Gavish to occupy the Suez Canal contrary to Dayan's opinion."

pp. 20-22

A discussion with Lieutenant Colonel Ayalon, about the implications of Gavish's testimony – was it not necessary to occupy the Gaza Strip? Was the timing bad? Where shall Brigade 520 attack? The planned timing of the offensive.

pp. 23-25

Deliberating the action to defend Eilat and Mizpe-Ramon, who shall command, Josh or Aviv? Dismantling "Avuka's" headquarters. Explaining the apprehensions of an Egyptian attack on Eilat. The Egyptian are gathering intelligence from the Bedouins and moving forces towards the area.

pp. 26-27

"Now it is known that we were wrong about Shazli. I thought he had 120 – 130 tanks. He had only 40. If we knew that Shazli had only one battalion of Stalins (a type of heavy Soviet tank), we would not have taken him seriously. Then we thought the Shazli advances with 4-5 tank battalions and 4 commando battalions. In other words, they may parachute, land from helicopters, and he has armor forces too. I saw it as a serious threat."


Describing the deployment of the 7th (Egyptian) division. The wish to attack it while it was not yet fully deployed: "If we would have attacked a week earlier, it would have been a child's play."

pp. 29-50

Gavish describes the offensive and the conduct of the battle: "The first phase included Bir-Lahfan, Abu-Ageila and Yska before Djabel Libni. The second phase was the big armored battle. The third phase, the advance to the Suez Canal. ​

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