Chief of Staff, Yitzhak Rabin's Testimony

​​Selected quotes from Yitzhak Rabin's testimony

Given on September 7, 1967 at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel-Aviv


Evaluating the tendencies was less important, because these were the first news about military movements. It was important to try evaluating what stands behind. Second, if the unexpected would occur, not to be left empty handed, having no response against the known force concentrations.


On that day, if I am not wrong, it became clear that the force concentration, plus the evacuation of the UN force, is creating a new situation in the Middle East.

Our force generation was developed in tandem with the other side.

Colonel Ayalon: "What about the background to the war?"


Rabin: "in my opinion, it all began in 1964, with the Arab Summit. This was the first step to change the 1956, 1957 status quo.


Question: "From my impressions, I had a different feeling then many army commanders. Following the evacuation of the emergency force, the Egyptian concentrations, the tense climate of the previous two, three years. I had a feeling that many army personnel saw the situation as a repetition, a tension that will eventually evaporate. I wanted the army and its commanders to delve into all estimations.


Lantesch (Colonel Abraham Ayalon):

The IDF has always had developing strategies, thus the phase of the "Atzmon" plan, the "Kardom" alert. In other words, like in Jerusalem, you take the first step, and prepare for the second.

"Perhaps there were doubts about success in the air. And the entire ground maneuver was depended on that success. Therefore, to say – if the air strike will succeed, we will send in the ground forces.

p. 21

Ayalon: That day in the dining room, I was reading in Maariv that the Chief of Staff is going to speak on the radio. I thought that perhaps the article is of importance, so I brought him the paper.


Rabin: "In phase two, everything changed due to the Hussein-Nasser accord. It was also clear that the Syrian front was easier to defend, and that the objectives were less critical for Israel's existence than those in the Jordanian front.


Ayalon: In my opinion, if the situation would have continued, and we would not have attacked, they would have.


Rabin: "In two more weeks, we would have been be broken.


Therefore, these two factors: the Arab longer stamina, and our shorter; the combination of their forces and the confidence it allowed them – thus the Arab daring, would have led to further Arab moves.

p. 27

Nasser said, in fact, "We put an end to the 1956 aggression. Now we shall do the same to the 1948 aggression." Only an idiot will not see the consequences.


Ayalon: In my opinion, it is impossible to explain the Egyptian deployment, without a possibility to attack in the south.

A second meeting – September 9, 1969


As I said last time, I see the turning point in the Israeli-Arab relations, shaped after the Sinai War, in the first Arab Summit on January 15, 1964. There they began preparing, for the first time since 1957, to act against Israel.


And naturally, knowing the Arab world, Egypt would play first violin as well as conducting the orchestra in any concerted effort against Israel.

We can see that Egypt avoided war from 1964 to May 1967. Nasser refused to go to war due to some incident on the Syrian border.


Signing the Syrian-Egytptian Defense Pact, the heating of the atmosphere, all contributed to a possible deterioration in the Middle East.


The deployment of the Arab armies along the borders, in addition to the Syrian and Jordanian armies' deployment, the entry of Iraqi forces into Jordan. The deployment of most of the Egyptian army in the Sinai Peninsula, all created a very difficult military situation in Israel.

I attributed to the Egyptian more capabilities then were proven in the Six Day War

On the importance of the Air Force, the aerial dominance, to the overall military situation in the war.


In my assessment the situation could not continue as it was. What with the Arabs having a much longer durability then ours….

p. 17

The next phases were not certain. Will the Arabs attack if Israel would not attack first? Their achievements wet their appetite, and the appetite created daring.


Colonel Sarig: You, Rabin, halted Dado


How comes that beyond the occupation of the West Bank, etc., there no plans to occupy the Old City.

Rabin: Occupying the Old City was expressly forbidden, from political considerations, I was not involved.

p. 40

Colonel Sarig: It was first decided not to take prisoners ranking less than sergeant.  Thus, we assisted thousands of Egyptians POWs in returning to their lines. 

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