The Yom Kippur War was a 1973 war that was fought between Israel and the allied Egyptians and Syrians. The war put an end to a Middle East cease fire that had been in place since 1970, as the Egyptian and Syrian militaries surprised Israeli forces on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. Egypt and Syria were fighting to regain territory they had lost as a consequence of defeat in the 1967 Six-Days' War against Israel. While Israel won the Yom Kippur War in 19 days, it faced negative domestic and international effects afterward. The Cold War undertones of the conflict may have heightened international desire for the later Egyptian-Israeli peace.
Israel occupied new territories after its victory in the Six-Day's War, including the Golan Heights that had formerly belonged to Syria and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The leaders of Egypt and Syria joined forces shortly before the war, but for different reasons. Egypt hoped to make Israel recognize its strength in order to force a peace settlement. The president of Syria was seeking political prestige at home by recapturing the Israeil-occupied Golan Heights. The Yom Kippur War began when the two countries' armies attacked under joint command on October 6, 1973.
During the first days of the Yom Kippur War, it seemed the Arab armies of Egypt and Syria had scored quick victories by their rapid advances. Indeed, Israel had been caught unaware by automatically assuming its own military superiority. Then, billions of dollars' worth of United States military aid soon bolstered the position of the Israeli defense forces and curbed further Arab advance. In spite of Soviet aid given to Egypt, an Israeli counter-attack turned back both the Egyptian and Syrian armies. As the Yom Kippur War threatened to become a conflict between the nuclear powers of the United States and the Soviet Union, the two powers urged a new cease fire at the United Nations (UN).
United Nations Security Council Resolution 338 formally ended the Yom Kippur War on October 22, 1973. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later helped to negotiate military disengagement between Israel and Syria. While Israel had won by turning back both armies, the high cost of the war caused economic turmoil in that country, and Israel faced international isolation. Political parties in Israel also went through a period of infighting after the war. Also, the UN peace agreement did not address the state of the Palestinian people living in the Israel-occupied territories, which became a more contentious issue following the war.