ctober 6 marks the 48th anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War, when Israel was attacked by Syrian and Egyptian forces in a coordinated effort supported by nine Arab states and the Soviet Union. The war lasted three weeks and resulted in an Israeli victory, the beginnings of a peace process that culminated in the Camp David Accords five years later, and the diminution of Soviet influence in the Middle East. But at the start of the war, with Israeli forces suffering military setbacks on both fronts, President Richard Nixon came to the rescue and saved the Jewish state.
Among the late, great British historian Sir Martin Gilbert’s books is The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust (2003). The book tells the dramatic and heroic stories of non-Jews saving Jews from Hitler’s final solution during World War II. During the Yom Kippur War — when Israel’s very survival was at stake — Nixon effectively took his place among “the righteous” by ordering an airlift of supplies to Israel that tipped the scales in its favor and later authorized a nuclear alert that deterred the Soviet Union from directly intervening on the side of its Arab allies.