Dr. Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, associate associates at the Truman Institute at Hebrew University, argue that the Yom Kippur War was planned by the Russians.
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The Soviet Union opposed the Egyptian-Syrian onslaught that started the Yom Kippur War in 1973, according to the historical narrative that has prevailed.
The last thing the Kremlin needed was a battle between its Arab proxies and the US-backed Jewish state as the US and the USSR were de-escalating tensions through détente. But a fresh hypothesis refutes this generally accepted idea.
Dr. Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, associate associates at the Truman Institute at Hebrew University, argue that the Soviet Union not only knew about the approaching conflict but also participated in its planning in their recently released book, The Soviet-Israeli Conflict 1967- 1973.
“The Egyptian-Syrian offensive was backed by and coordinated with Moscow,” Remez said at an event promoting the book at the Jerusalem Press Club. “Soviet forces, as well as advisers, even took direct part.”
The memoirs and testimonies of Soviet soldiers that Remez and Ginor translated from Russian and brought to the Western academic discourse form the basis of their results.
“Eyewitness testimonies helped to set the record straight,” said Ginor.“To use an un-academic but fashionable term, fake news had evolved over decades into fake history.”
Their findings refute the conventional wisdom that the Soviet military advisors stationed in Egypt before the Six-Day War were removed by Cairo. On July 18, 1972, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made news throughout the world by announcing that he was removing 15,000 to 20,000 Soviet advisors. This was interpreted as moving Egypt away from the USSR and toward the US. Ginor and Remez said that everything was a huge ruse.
They claim that the Soviet advisers never left.
Ginor and Remez’s research has been criticized. The Yom Kippur War’s outbreak was a surprise to the Kremlin, claims Uri Bar-Joseph, a professor of international affairs at the University of Haifa.
Ginor and Remez’s conclusions have been contested by several academics.
The brutal War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt (as well as Jordan, the PLO, and their supporters) from 1967 to 1970 is also covered in great depth in the book. Although the Soviet Union was involved in the fight, many historians are unaware of the extent of their contribution, according to Ginor and Remez.
According to their investigation, Egypt claimed responsibility for a number of assaults that the Soviet Union had actually planned.
One was the sinking of the INS Eilat in October 1967 off the coast of Port Said, which at the time was Israel’s only operational destroyer.
“The Soviets did all but press the button,” one of Ginor and Remez’s interviewees recounted.
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Remez contrasted Russia’s activities in Syria to those of the Soviet Union during the War of Attrition. He stated that in 1967, Egyptian ports and air force bases were taken over by the Soviet Union “in all but name,” much as Russia now controls Syrian ports and air bases.
The authors of Foxbats over Dimona: The Soviets’ Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War, Remez, and Ginor, formerly in charge of the Voice of Israel’s foreign news division, contend that the USSR orchestrated the 1967 conflict to thwart Israel’s burgeoning nuclear program. Historians were skeptical of this notion since it was new to them.