Miracles of the Yom Kippur War
MAOZ Report, By Shira Sorko-Ram, July 2019
Twenty-one-year-old Lieutenant Zvika Greengold was home on leave at his kibbutz in western Galilee. He was spending a quiet day observing Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. It was October 6, 1973. In fact, most soldiers were home on leave.
Suddenly he heard the unexpected sound of Israeli fighter jets streaking through the sky over his kibbutz. He knew it wasn’t an exercise – not on Yom Kippur.
In a two-pronged surprise attack, the Egyptians had crossed the Suez Canal and were heading for southern Israel while Syrian tanks came rolling across the Golan Heights under Israeli control, on their way to conquer Galilee.
At that time, Zvika wasn’t yet assigned to a unit, so he hitchhiked 78 miles to his Nafah base in the Golan Heights. To his dismay, he was told there wasn’t much he could do except tend the wounded because there was virtually no operational military equipment; the base was already populated almost entirely by wounded soldiers. While helping with the wounded, he noticed two severely damaged IDF Centurion tanks sitting off in the corner of the base.
He radioed Brigade HQ and told them he had a “tank force” (technically true) and was requesting permission to go into battle against the invading Syrians. He helped repair the two tanks, assembled a skeleton crew, and off they drove into the night. He soon ran into a Syrian tank 20 meters away, opened fire and the tank burned.
HIS TANK BROKE DOWN
Just from the force of his attack, his own Centurion broke down. He sent it back to the base with one of his soldiers and took control of his second tank. Alone, he moved forward, and to his shock he saw many vehicle lights shining on the horizon.
An army of Syrian tanks and trucks were heading unhindered towards his base. The Syrians began their assault with the first 600 of 1400 Russian-supplied tanks and 1,000 artillery pieces. Greengold radioed his commander who then asked, “How many of there are you?”
But Greengold knew he couldn’t say he was alone as the Syrians were listening.He just said, “My situation isn’t good; I can’t tell you how many.” Greengold’s own commander had no idea how many men and tanks made up the “Zvika Force!”
But Zvika was alone. His tank heavily damaged, he used the darkness for cover and actually sped backwards along the column’s flank, firing at very close range and then dodging enemy shells while fooling the Syrians into believing there were many Israeli tanks attacking them. He notched off ten more enemy tanks before the Syrians themselves began to back off.