Following the cessation of hostilities, both sides convened for what has since become known in Israel as the '101st Kilometer Talks,' a name derived from the distance of Israeli forces from Cairo at the time. The primary agenda of this meeting was the negotiation of a ceasefire agreement. During these discussions, General Muhammad Al-Gamasy, who led the Egyptian negotiating team, was appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Army. General Yariv, who headed the Israeli team, wanted to extend his best wishes to Al-Gamasy through a thoughtful gift: a Bible translated into Arabic, accompanied by a personal dedication.
היום תעלה ב@kann הסדרה ״האחת״ על טייסת 201 עליה פיקדתי בימיה הראשונים של מלחמת יום הכיפורים - מלחמה שבה עוז רוחם של הלוחמים הביא לניצחון.— רון חולדאי (@Ron_Huldai) September 18, 2023
50 שנה אחרי המלחמה ההיא, אנו מוצאים רבים מאד מהלוחמים של אז נלחמים על אופיה וערכיה של מדינת ישראל. pic.twitter.com/noQwRhb1X5
General Yariv's illustrious career included serving as the head of the Defense Ministry and holding positions such as Minister of Transportation and Information. During the Yom Kippur War, he was called upon to serve as a senior advisor and special assistant to the Chief of Staff. He was subsequently chosen to lead the Israeli negotiation team tasked with stabilizing the ceasefire. On the other side of the table was General Al-Gamasy, who had been responsible for planning the Egyptian attack and coordinating with the Syrian army during the conflict. Following the war, he was promoted to the position of Chief of Staff.
A strong rapport developed between these two military leaders, and the negotiations themselves culminated in the successful signing of the Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Egypt in early 1974. Now, half a century after that historic war, the Bible that General Yariv intended to present to General Al-Gamasy on December 13th has come to light.
Within the pages of this book, General Yariv penned a heartfelt dedication to Al-Gamasy in Arabic, in his own handwriting. He included the renowned verse that has resonated with leaders worldwide, symbolizing the universal desire for peace. Alongside the Bible, he attached an English-language letter, written on official letterhead from the Chief of Staff's Office, congratulating Al-Gamasy.
Regrettably, ten days later, it was reported in "Yedioth Ahronoth" that General Al-Gamasy declined to accept the Bible. In a subsequent interview with another Israeli newspaper, General Yariv explained that the press had publicized the gift before it reached its intended recipient, causing Al-Gamasy some discomfort. Yariv optimistically mentioned that "the Bible is in a safe place, and perhaps it will eventually reach him."
בחלוף 50 שנה, כמו אצלנו, גם הלוחמים המצרים מתחילים להעלות זכרונות. הם מעזים לסטות מהנראטיב הרשמי של ״נצחון אוקטובר״ ולדבר על הטראומה, הכאב והמחיר הכבד של המלחמה. ההערכה היא שקרוב ל10,000 מצרים נפלו במלחמה. הערב במהדורה: עדויות הלוחמים המצרים מול עדויות הישראלים שלחמו נגדם pic.twitter.com/gXcNig2AHa— Alon Ben-David (@alonbd) September 18, 2023
Up until now, the fate of the book was unknown by most, as it was unclear whether it ever reached General Al-Gamasy or where it resided over the intervening years. However, this past Tuesday it was reported that it is in Israel and has recently come into the possession of the Pentagon auction house. It will soon be placed up for auction in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. The manager of the auction house, Eyal Ilya, expressed his excitement, stating, "This item is incredibly significant, both on a personal level and due to the historical context surrounding it. The gesture of an IDF general greeting the Chief of Staff of an enemy country mere weeks after a brutal war is truly remarkable."