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94. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State1

7570. For Sisco from Ambassador. Subject: Rumored Egyptian Alert; Syrian Military Activity. Ref: Tel Aviv 7555, State 194280 and 194592.2

1. As we reported last night and as DATT had reported earlier yesterday, Israelis do not perceive a threat at this time from either Syria or Egypt. The Israelis continue to watch Egypt closely and are aware of Syrian redeployments.

2. At my instruction DATT has been in continuous contact with Israeli military intelligence on these subjects since State reftels were received and is to have further IDF briefing today, results of which he will report immediately.3

3. I note Dayan’s remarks September 26 to troops on Golan Heights about Syrian concentrations4 (FBIS London 262034Z Sep 73), which may have contributed to concern. Purpose we would see behind Dayan’s comments is reassurance to troops on ceasefire line who had not [Page 281]been given leave to spend Jewish new year holiday with their families that their remaining on station was for solid reason.

Keating
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, and Jerusalem.
  2. In telegram 7555 from Tel Aviv, September 30, the Embassy reported the Defense Attaché’s assessment that Syrian military action against Israel was improbable and the Israeli Defense Force’s view that the Syrian deployment was a typical Syrian defensive posture. Thus, the IDF was watchful but not overly concerned. (Ibid.) In telegram 194280 to Tel Aviv, September 28, the Department asked the Embassy to obtain an Israeli assessment of a report that Egyptian air defense had gone on alert early that day. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 610, Country Files, Middle East, Israel, Vol. 12, Mar. 73–Oct. 73) In telegram 194592 to Tel Aviv, September 30, the Department asked the Embassy for Israeli comments on and evaluation of reported Syrian military activity. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. In JCS telegram 1448 from Tel Aviv, October 2, the Defense Attaché reported a long discussion with Colonel Reuter, IDF Intelligence Liaison Officer, on October 1. The Attaché emphasized U.S. concern over the increased tension and the need for an official IDF estimate of the situation. Reuter said that the IDF considered the Syrian and Egyptian buildups “a coincidental juxtaposition of two actions motivated by entirely different reasons.” He conceded that Egypt’s large-scale exercise could serve as a cover for offensive preparations, but said that since no collateral indications supported this, the IDF considered this “to be merely an exercise.” The IDF judged that Syria did not yet feel able to occupy the Golan Heights; thus, it considered the Syrian deployment a defensive one. In summary, the IDF was keeping a close watch on both fronts, but there were no indications of IDF mobilization or increased alert. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 659, Country Files, Middle East, [Computer Cables—Mideast War—1], October 1973)
  4. See Document 93.