Yom Kippur war protocols declassified, provoking debate

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A few months ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved new regulations allowing state archives to extend classification of material from a period of 50 years to 70.
The decision was made following pressure from Israel's security services and likely connected to an ongoing petition by journalists over access to archives kept by individual government bodies (in violation of the law, evidently) such as the Mossad and the Atomic Energy Commission. Documents whose due date was coming up cover Israel's first two decades but may now be released to scholars and the public in 2018.

But meanwhile, state archives released documents about the 1973 Yom Kippur War, opening a Pandora's box and unleashing high debates and deep emotions, and showing that the intensity of the experience -- trauma, really, for many -- hasn't dulled much depsite 37 years.

The documents confirm what many knew or intuited about the war, including disagreements among the leadership, warring generals, desperate battles and long-shot situations. Nearly four decades later -- inexplicably tardy, commentators say-- the protocols shed light on the decision-making process, confirming some suspicions but busting a few myths too.

So was it a surprise? Six hours before the Egyptians started crossing the Suez canal, then-Prime Minister Golda Meir convened an urgent consultation. Chief of Staff David "Dado" Elazar supported an advance strike and a wide call-up of reserves, saying it would save many lives. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan objected. We can't afford it this time, he said; what would the world say? Meir agreed. An advance attack is appealing but this wasn't 1967; the world won't believe us, she reportedly said. Army intelligence was ambiguous, not convinced that Egypt and Syria really meant war, although they had everything in place. "They know they're going to lose," the intelligence chief said....

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