Russian invasion of Israel

A friend of mine was telling me a story the other night of an attempted invasion of Israel by the USSR in the early eighties. He said it was avoided when a cache of Russian Equiptment was discovered in the region.

Has anyone heard this story before?


I am no expert on Middle Eastern history, but that sounds almost certainly wrong.

However, I do recall reading that during the Yom Kippur War in the early 70s, that the Soviets were somehow involved with Syria(?), maybe.

The Soviets had some ‘combat experience’ in the Middle East.

During the ‘War of Attrition’ (1967-1973 I think), an regiment (‘group’ to westerners) of MiG-21’s was stationed near Cairo, to help the Egyptians with the Israeli raids. Didn’t do too well, according to several sources.

Russians flew Elint and Recon missions for the AL, until they finally sold Syria a batch of MiG-25’s. Supposedly, even then, the first missions over Israel were piloted by Soviets.

Late in the '73 war, the Soviets moved an Airborne regiment and air-defence units to Damascus. (The Israelis had the Egyptian 3rd Army almost surrounded, and were advancing on the N.Front as well, freaked the Soviets out). All for naught, as the war ended not long after.

But the Soviets actually planning to invade Israel? I seriously doubt it. Israel is not a very strategic country for the Soviets, especially since all of the nations surrounding it were, to some degree, Soviet allies.

Er, is your friend perhaps a Pre-millenialist? :smiley: According to the Hal Lindsay-Tim LaHaye-Jerry Jenkins “Left Behind” axis, the Russians are going to invade Israel just before the Second Coming. Is that maybe what he’s talking about, a garbled version filtered through e-mail spam?

Egad, 47,600 Google hits for “Russian invasion Israel”, and every one of 'em Pre-Mill… :smiley:

The Soviet Union would have had to have been nuts to try to invade Israel in the early eighties. A direct Soviet attack against Israel at any time would have brought American troops in to oppose it. This would have been especially true during the Reagan adminstration.

My guess is that whatever truth exists in this rumor is that the Soviets were a major weapons supplier to many of the countries in the region. So a cache of Soviet equipment is quite possible but doesn’t mean that Soviet troops were set to follow.

Does anybody know that the second (unofficial) language in Israel after Hebrew is Russian? More than a quater of Israeli population is of Soviet descent. A lot of them, once over there, don’t even care to learn Hebrew, feeling comfortable enough without it. Israel is Russia’s biggest ally, not an enemy!

Mirage, the overwhelming majority of Russian speakers in Israel are formerly Russian Jews who fled Russia (or the Soviet Union) to Israel. It certainly doesn’t follow that they’re the basis of a pro-Russian fifth column with Israel.

Um, cite?

I know early Israel tended toward the Socialist, but between the USSR’s open support of Israel’s enemies and the less than happy reason all those Russian Jews saw it necessary to flee Russia (hint: it rhymes with “bogroms”), I’m dubious as to the above.

Ehhhh… yes and no. While it’s true that about a sixth of Israel’s population comes from the ex-USSR, they came because the Russians stopped preventing them from leaving. Many of the community’s leaders - such as Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky - are former anti-Communist dissidents.

That aside, they may come from the Soviet Union, but they’re still Jews (at least most of them), and it’s hard to say that they ever felt completely at home back in Mother Russia. And it’s mainly the older ones who refuse to learn the national language - a common problem with immigrants everywhere. The kids learn Hebrew fairly quickly, especially after serving in the Army.

As to the OP - I sincerely doubt it. Pilots and advisors, yes, but actual ground troops? Not with the meager level of force projection the Soviets had, and not when the U.S. 6th Fleet controlled the Mediterranian.

You seem to imply that Russian immigrants to Israel go right on speaking Russian.

So, according to these folks, Russian, Arabic, and Yiddish are roughly equally represented in the population, as “mother tongues”, and all of them with 10% or less.

But perhaps you were speaking metaphorically? [tactfully offers Mirage an out] As in, “New York City’s second language once was Yiddish!”



Please don’t be hard on Mirage! It wasn’t him who posted the message (he’s out for the weekend), it was him clueless Russian girlfriend (me) who didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. I feel so humiliated now, my apologies to everyone.

I agree that a planned Soviet invasion in the '80s is unlikely, but the 1973 Yom Kippur War, now that was a scary thing. Not only were the Soviets airlifting troops and supplies into Damascus, but the United States responded by beginning its own airlift into Israel while the fighting was still ongoing. Thus, you had the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. reinforcing opposite sides of a conflict with their own troops and materiel.

Worse still, the Yom Kippur War was the closest thing to a pan-Arabic war the region saw until the Gulf War. Iraq and Saudi Arabia sent troops which saw combat in Syria, and Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Lybia all sent smaller amounts of military aid and money. (Jordan stayed out of it largely because of that cute little maneuver the Palestinians pulled on them in Black September.)

As it happened, a cease-fire was declared, but at roughly the same time the IDF in Egypt pinned the Egyptian Third Army on the wrong side of the Suez Canal. Henry Kissinger seems to think that the Soviets believed that the negotiations which were ongoing in the U.N. and between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. was a ruse to allow time for the Israeli turning movement.

The Soviets handed Nixon a very nasty letter saying that if the fighting didn’t stop right now the United States and the Soviet Union should intervene against Israel. If America wouldn’t go along with it, the Soviets threatened to do it unilaterally. The text of that letter is supposedly available, but hell if I can find it. It is the only open Soviet threat to invade Israel of which I know.

As a result, on October 25, 1973, America bumped up its non-strategic forces to DEFCON III. Fortunately, the fighting died down and within a week everything was jake. But for a little while there things were uncertain and very, very dangerous.

As far as finding a cache of Russian equipment lying about in virtually any Arab nation, well, we usually call it that country’s armed forces. The Soviet T-55 (and occasionally a Chinese knock-off) is still one of the world’s most popular tanks, and everyone in the Middle East has 'em–including Israel, which picked most of theirs up for free, if slightly damaged, from the battlefields of Golan and Suez in 1973.

I dont think you need apologize, Mirage, the responses to your post missed the point that, while the Russian Jews who emigrated to Israel were persecuted, it was the Soviet Union which persecuted them. Russia is now a democracy, and Im sure that the vast majority of emigres are proud of their Russian roots.

Maybe this is based on scattered reports of Soviet equipment being found cached in remote areas of Alaska and Canada in the '80s…no, I don’t have a cite, but I seem to recall one or two fairly well-documented discoveries.