Dayan Moshe (1915-1981)

Israel military commander and statesman

was born in Deganyah Alef, a kevuzah, and raised in moshav Nahalal. As a young man he was a guard in the village fields, later joining the Haganah. Dayan was arrested in 1939, together with 42 of his friends, for participating in an illegal Haganah commanders' course, and was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. Released in 1941, he joined a British army unit and lost an eye in a battle with Vichy (French) forces in Syria.

During the War of Independence (1948), Dayan commanded the defense of Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley. In August 1948 he was appointed commander of the Jerusalem front, and after the war he participated in the cease-fire talks between Israel and Jordan. From Dec. 1953 until Jan. 1958 he was commander-in-chief of the Israel army. He successfully commanded the Israel forces throughout the Sinai Campaign of 1956. Dayan ended his army service in 1958 and in the fall of 1959 was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Mapai party, and became minister of agriculture.

In October 1964, after a disagreement with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, he resigned his post in the government. A year later he was elected to the sixth Knesset as a member of the new political party Rafi. During the crisis proceeding the Six-Day War in June 1967, Dayan was appointed minister of defense. After successfully conducting the war, Dayan administered the territories occupied by the Israel army. He conducted a policy of liberal military government, opening the borders to trade and travel between the occupied territories and Arab countries.

After the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, Dayan became a controversial figure in Israel. He suffered heavy criticism for not being prepared for the Arab attack and after the war left the Ministry of Defense. Although elected to the Ninth Knesset (1977) as a Labor party member, he served as foreign minister in the Begin government until 1980. For the 1981 elections he formed a new party, Telem, and represented it in the Tenth Knesset. Many Israelis regarded Dayan as their country's greatest military and political leader. He was buried in Nahalal.


Biography, with internal links to contextual background
Biography emphasizing Dayan's archeological activities, bibliography - extensive
Memorial stamp
Short biography, bibliography

Entry taken from "Junior Judaica, Encyclopedia Judaica for Youth" CD-ROM

by C.D.I. Systems 1992 (LTD) and Keter.





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02 May 2005 / 23 Nisan 5765 0