The Valley of Tears was the scene of one of the most important battles of the Yom Kippur War. In general terms Israel was taken by surprise at the outset of the 1973 Yom Kippur War (also known as the “Valley of Tears Battle”), having ignored or misinterpreted much of the intelligence reports.
Yom Kippur War – a Pyrrhic victory for Israel and the stuff of Israeli legends
At the Valley of Tears around 200 Israeli tanks held off about 1,400 Syrian tanks over the course a a few days, breaking the momentum of the Syrian attack and giving Israel time to organize. In many ways the exploits of the 77 Battalion of the 7th Brigade saved much of Israel from the Syrian invasion.
However, it was a Pyrrhic victory. As the Syrians retreated on the fourth day of the war, the Israeli side suffered massive casualties and was on the verge of collapse.
Their story has fittingly passed into Israeli legend. The tales of battalion commander Avigdor Kahalini jumping from tank to tank, during the Israeli counterattack, are known to every child. He later became an Israeli politician. Today, visitors travel to the Valley of Tears to remember and commemorate the Israeli indomitable courage, strength and heroism that took place in this site.
At the sight today, there is a lookout point, a grove of trees in memory of the fallen, a description of the combat, and a burnt out Syrian tank. Sometimes you can see Israeli tanks on site – adding a touch of authenticity. Today, however, the scenery is completely different as the site is set amongst pretty orchards.
Today the Valley of Tears hosts a Jewish National Fund memorial site for the fallen members of the armored corps of the 77th Brigade. The memorial is named Oz 77, taken from the Hebrew word for “strength.” The monument includes an abandoned T-62 Syrian tank. There is also a gaping hole in the front where it was hit, during one of the most crucial events of the war. The abandoned tanks are left where they exactly stood, bearing mute witness to the bloody conflict that led to an unexpected outcome.
Nearby the Valley of Tears
Tazpit Kuneitra – a pretty lay-by to park and enjoy the view and a picnic, under Mt Ortal north of Ein Zivan.
The chocolate factory at Ein Zivan
Getting to the Valley of Tears
Turn east (from Road 98) opposite Kibbutz El Ram and follow the signs through the orchards.