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The Yom Kippur War

The 1973 October War was also known as the Yom Kippur War to Jews and the Ramadan War to Arabs. It was fought between Israel and a coalition of Syria and Egypt from 6 October to 24 October 1973. The war began with a co-ordinated surprise attack by the two Arab countries, which advanced deep into Israeli-held territory. The fighting was fierce and caused heavy casualties on both sides. By the time of the ceasefire on 24 October, Israel had not only gained back the ground that had been initially lost but it also gained more by crossing the Suez Canal and establishing control of its west bank.

Despite the military results of the war, it was largely seen as a disaster by Israel. The fighting had been costly both in economic and human terms. The Israeli economy was damaged for years after the war, and the country had suffered more casualties than in the previous two wars. In addition, Israeli intelligence agencies came under harsh criticism for failing to predict the surprise attack. The outcome of the October War was in large part responsible for the resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir and the loss of the Israeli sense of invincibility.

On the other hand, for the Arab nations the war restored some of the confidence that had been lost after the Six-Day War. Although Israel had finally prevailed, the Arab armies had performed well, proving that they were still a power to be reckoned with. For Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the war provided an important boost, both in personal prestige and political bargaining power.

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