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On the first Saturday of October again: A shocking déjà vu

The scene where a rocket fired from Gaza into southern Israel, hit and caused damaged in Ashkelon, Oct. 7, 2023. (Photo: Erik Marmor/Flash90)

For the second time in modern Israeli history, the enemy has launched a surprise attack on Israel when the nation was unprepared, with both instances occurring on the first Saturday of October.

Just as it did exactly 50 years ago (Saturday, Oct. 6, 1973), today's surprise attack has fallen on a significant holiday. In both cases, the enemy chose one of God's appointed holidays for the assault; a time when people are typically at the beach or enjoying family trips in the desert.

Religious and traditional Jews gather in synagogues for prayer, where they are forbidden to bear arms, and their electronic devices, television and radio are turned off. Public transportation is halted, and communication with reservists and their mobilization becomes problematic. 

Fifty years ago, during Yom Kippur, the unexpected attack came during a period of self-examination, and today, during the joyous celebration of the Torah, which marks the concluding holiday of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Today, the usual cheerful processions with Torah scrolls are absent throughout the country. The silence of deserted streets is broken only by nearby and distant explosions. In this situation, the principle of protecting life takes precedence over religious prohibitions, allowing traditional Jews to use electrical devices, vehicles, and weapons.

Thousands of reserve soldiers who received immediate call-ups reported to their designated locations, including many members of Israeli Messianic congregations. In response to a national appeal, crowds are forming at blood donation centers in hospitals and clinics, with waiting times of at least two hours. There are many wounded, and there is a serious shortage of blood products for transfusion.

Blood donors from various social backgrounds patiently await their turn. Despite the extended wait, they graciously permit those who politely seek permission to go ahead. These qualities are not commonly associated with Israelis on ordinary days.

There are no signs of the year-long social conflict related to the judicial system reform. The main organizers of the protests have canceled their upcoming demonstrations. Regardless of one's stance on whatever political sides, we are donating blood to our fellow citizens in need. While during peacetime, internal divisions threaten the nation's existence, Israel is closing ranks in the face of an external enemy.

Much will be written about the parallels between 50 years ago and today's first Sabbath of October. People will scrutinize the events and omissions that led to today's tragedy. Politicians from all sides will likely attempt to exploit the situation for political gain.

The fighting is still ongoing, and the number of casualties is rising, but political statements calling for a unity government are already being heard. Simultaneously, there are declarations from the opposition to exclude cooperation with far-right parties that are part of the government.

The tragedy of the Yom Kippur War that took place 50 years ago prompted deep introspection, culminating in the signing of a peace treaty with Egypt six years later.

Let us pray for Israel to emerge from the current external and internal crisis, strengthened and renewed, hopefully much sooner than six years.

Yehuda is a former mathematics and science teacher in Israel's first accredited Messianic school, based in Jerusalem, holding academic degrees in mathematics, physics, and philosophy. He joined the ALL ISRAEL NEWS staff in August 2023.

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