INTELLIGENCE: Missing the Arabs' War Signals

The early battlefield reports streaming from the fronts into the military headquarters in Egypt and Syria seemed too good to be true: light Israeli resistance at the Suez Canal and in the Golan Heights; Israeli reserves not mobilized; Israel's general population relaxed and praying in the synagogues. Yet the reports were accurate. The Arabs had accomplished what conventional wisdom had long insisted was nearly impossible — a surprise attack on Israel.

The Arab onslaught, to be sure, was no Pearl Harbor. Israel's intelligence agents alerted the government several days before the...

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