Original caption from 1968: “New York: President-elect Richard Nixon chats with Israeli Ambassador, Yitzhak Rabin, left, Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan, second from right, and Nixon’s National Security Advisor, Dr. Henry Kissinger, right, at Nixon’s headquarters. Afterward, Dayan said he was reassured the United States will not substantially change the Mideast policy under the new administration.”
Jason Maoz, editor at the Jewish Press, recently emailed me his very timely article on RN’s pivotal role in defending Israel in the Yom Kippur War, which started as a surprise attack on the Jewish state by Egypt and Syria in Fall of 1973.
Maoz first published his article in 2005, but since today is October 6, the 36th anniversary of the war’s commencement, it is well worth re-posting and a fascinating read. Here is an excerpt:
Fortunately for Israel, Nixon crushed McGovern among non-Jewish voters and easily won a second term. Now, a year after the election, Israel’s fate was very much in Nixon’s hands.
Precise details of what transpired in Washington during the first week of the Yom Kippur War are hard to come by, due mainly to conflicting accounts given by Kissinger and Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger regarding their respective roles.
What is clear, from the preponderance of information provided by those who witnessed or were involved with the unfolding events, is that Nixon – overriding inter-administration objections and bureaucratic inertia – implemented a breathtaking transfer of arms. During a 32-day period beginning October 14, jumbo U.S. military aircraft touched down in Israel close to 600 times, delivering some 22,300 tons of material. This enabled Israel to reverse its earlier setbacks, surround the Egyptians in the Sinai, and advance deep into Syrian territory.
This was accomplished, as Walter J. Boyne noted in an article in the December 1998 issue of Air Force Magazine, while “Washington was in the throes of not only post-Vietnam moralizing on Capitol Hill but also the agony of Watergate, both of which impaired the leadership of Richard M. Nixon. Four days into the war, Washington was blindsided again by another political disaster – the forced resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew.”
According to those with firsthand knowledge, it was Nixon’s stubborn insistence that propelled the massive arms transfer, code-named Operation Nickel Grass.
“Both Kissinger and Nixon wanted to do [the airlift],” said former CIA deputy director Vernon Walters, “but Nixon gave it the greater sense of urgency. He said, ‘You get the stuff to Israel. Now. Now.’”
Read the rest here.