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In October 1973,  Israeli PM Golda Meir made a 3 a.m. call directly to President Richard Nixon, going over the head of Henry Kissinger after he repeatedly refused her pleas for help after Israel was attacked by surrounding Arab nations on the day it’s celebrating its most holy day. Kissinger told the media, It is time to let the Jews bleed a little.”

Golda Meir reached Nixon on the “hot line” pleading, “Mr. President, we are going to be wiped off the face of the earth. We need help!”

When he was a boy, Richard Nixon’s devout Christian mother had told him, Richard, some day you will be a man of great influence and power and at that moment the Jewish people are going to need your help. You must do all that you can do to save the Jews.

   As he listened to Golda Meir’s urgent request, Nixon recalled his mother’s words and he knew what he had to do. He asked: “What do you need, Prime Minister?” She said: “Everything!”


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Nixon immediately ordered the US Military to respond.  But Nixon hit the roof when he learned that Sec. of State Henry Kissinger delayed the airlift order because of a concern that it would offend the Russians. Despite the opposition of his national security and foreign policy brain trust, Nixon ordered the airlift, saying, “We are going to get blamed just as much for three planes as for three hundred,” and later in exasperation at the slow start of US support, said “Use every [plane] we have—everything that will fly.”


Operation Nickel Grass:  The Air Force sent huge cargoes of tanks, munitions, and military supplies to Israel via gigantic, oversized C-5 transport aircraft. Over the course of the airlift 567 missions were flown, delivering over 22,000 tons of supplies, and an additional 90,000 tons were delivered to Israel by sea. Later in her life, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir would admit that upon hearing of the airlift during a cabinet meeting, she began to cry.


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The Yom Kippur War of 1973, the most recent ‘full’ war in Middle East history, is so-called because it began on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the holiest day of prayer and fasting in the Jewish calendar. It started with a surprise Arab attack on Israel on Saturday 6th October 1973. On this day, Egyptian and Syrian military forces launched an attack knowing that the military of Israel would be participating in the religious celebrations associated with Yom Kippur.

The combined forces of Egypt and Syria totalled the same number of men as NATO had in Western Europe. On the Golan Heights alone, 150 Israeli tanks faced 1,400 Syria tanks and in the Suez region just 500 Israeli soldiers faced 80,000 Egyptian soldiers




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