10.6.73 - The Yom Kippur War: Photographs by Tom Heyman

Two hundred photographs by Tom Heyman depict the heroism and sacrifice of Hativa Sheva, the Seventh Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces, on the Syrian front from the Yom Kippur surprise attack until the last Syrian shell fell on May 31, 1974.

On October 6th, 1973, Syria launched three oversized infantry divisions and about 930 tanks and 900 artillery pieces in forward positions facing the Golan Heights. Two additional armored divisions and 460 tanks were held in the rear, protected by 30 batteries of anti-aircraft missiles. Israel held the Golan Heights with 177 tanks and one infantry division, 44 artillery pieces, and a SAM battery. Hativa Sheva, the first armored brigade established during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, fought what was to be the largest tank battle since World War II, winning a military victory at a terrible cost.

Tom Heyman was invited to join the tank brigade as its photographer, was given an Israeli army uniform, and documented the battle of the “Valley of Tears.” His camera captured the moment-to-moment reality of the war, witnessing the transformation of youths to heroes, from the battlefield to the hospital, in over 10,000 images donated to the Archives of the Israeli Army.

This exhibition reflects the personal commitment that has enabled Israel to reach its 60th anniversary and marks the 35th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War.

Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Director
Laura Kruger, Curator
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum

Tom Heyman, a New York-born photojournalist, was educated at Columbia College. After graduation, he worked as a securities analyst for a major Wall Street firm and served in the United States Army during the Korean War, stationed in Germany. His first major assignments as a photojournalist were to photograph gang kids, hospital patients, the mentally ill, and American immigrant communities. A member of the American Association of Magazine Photographers, Heyman covered the United Nations, the International Labor Council, and other organizations during his professional career in the United States.

Heyman made his first visit to Israel in 1950, and moved there with his cameras in 1969, discovering a true sense of belonging. During 1970, he traveled the borders of Israel, photographing children in the shelters and life on the kibbutzim. While photographing at a school, he met its principal, Uziela Buchman, whom he married in 1971. He also photographed for several Jewish organizations and traveled on assignment to Africa for the United Nations. He became an Israeli citizen in 1995