50 years since the Yom Kippur War

October 6 marks 50 years since the Yom Kippur War broke out between Israel and a coalition of Arab countries, led by Egypt and Syria. The war started with a surprise attack by the Arab armies on Israel’s holiest holiday, Yom Kippur.The TV series Valley of tears depicts the battle for the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel in October 1973

The TV series Valley of Tears depicts the battle for the Golan Heights in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. The series is available in the streaming range on HBO Max. Photo: Vered Adir/HBO MAX

Valley of tears is the name of an area on the Golan Heights where a major battle in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 was fought. The battle, which lasted from October 6 to October 9, saw the Israeli forces – despite massive losses – manage to hold their positions. On the fourth day of the battle, the Syrians retreated, just as the Israeli defenses were about to collapse.

Valley of tears is also the name of a 2020 TV series about the Battle of the Golan Heights in 1973. The filming of the series began in the summer of 2019 and the premiere episode of the first season was shown on the Israeli national TV station Kan 11, on October 19, 2020.
The series was later bought by HBO Max, where it is available today in the streaming range.

The first season of the TV series depicts the battles during the Yom Kippur War on the northern front. The Yom Kippur War broke out on October 6, 1973, 50 years ago, when Egypt and Syria led other Arab states in a surprise attack during Yom Kippur to defeat Israel on the holiest of Jewish holidays.

Refurbished tanks

Each episode cost about a million dollars to shoot. Refurbished tanks that had actually been used in the 1973 war were used during filming.

The film opens by describing how senior Israeli officials in the Defense Forces seem unconcerned about the prospect of war with neighboring countries. On October 5, 1973, the first day of Yom Kippur, commanders at a top-secret Israeli military facility fail to heed the desperate warnings of a young intelligence analyst convinced that war is about to break out.

The next day, as the country (including soldiers on duty) silently prays and fasts on Yom Kippur, the Syrians launch an invasion of the Golan Heights with the goal of capturing Mount Hermon.

Syrian ambushes

The TV series describes how the war affects soldiers and their relatives, how the emotional bonds between warring soldiers are strengthened and how both life and death become part of the soldiers’ everyday life. The series tests the loyalty of captured soldiers in their determination to protect military secrets from Syrian interrogators.

Syrian ambushes, tragic losses, heroic efforts and sophisticated intelligence work are depicted in the series about a war that would create a major post-war debate in Israel. Criticism was directed at Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s decision not to believe reports of an impending attack and their reluctance to pre-empt a war against neighboring countries, which led to increased Israeli losses.