- Category : Politics-Heads-of-state
- Type : ME
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Incarnation 1
Israeli general and political leader who became a crusader for peace. Skilled in both battle and diplomacy, he played a key role in four wars, but also helped negotiate the historic Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. He was the author of four books, including a memoir in 1976.
Born on a kibbutz near Lake Tiberias to parents Shemuel and Devorah, he joined the Haganah at 14, an underground organization that defended Jewish settlements from Arab attacks. Dayan learned guerilla warfare from British Captain Charles Orde Wingate, and served in the Palestine-Arab revolt 1936-‘39. When the British outlawed the Haganah in 1939, Dayan was arrested and imprisoned for two years.
Upon his release in 1941, Dayan joined the British army, where he served with the forces that liberated Lebanon and Syria from Vichy France during World War II. Dayan was wounded in battle in Lebanon where he lost his left eye. He began to wear the black eye patch that later became his trademark.
Dayan's activities in the 1948 War of Independence began when he commanded the defense of Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley. He helped halt Egyptian forces on the southern front. In August 1948, he was appointed commander on the Jerusalem front. In 1949, he participated in armistice talks with Jordanian officials at Rhodes. Dayan's military prowess allowed him to rise to the rank of chief of operations at General Headquarters in 1952, and in 1953, he was elected Chief of Staff of the armed forces. Terrorism was a continual problem and Dayan insisted on strong retaliation operations. On 29 October 1956, Dayan led Israel's Suez campaign, an invasion of the Sinai Peninsula after Egypt, Syria and Jordan signed a pact stating as their goal the destruction of Israel.
In 1958, Dayan left the military and entered politics. He served as Minister of Agriculture in the government of David Ben-Gurion from 1959 until 1964. In 1964, he resigned after an argument with new Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and joined Ben-Gurion in forming a new party called Rafi (Alliance of Israel's Workers). A year later, Dayan was reelected to the Knesset representing Rafi, which later rejoined the Labor Party. Dayan kept his position as Defense Minister when Golda Meir of the Labor Party succeeded Eshkol as Prime Minister in 1969.
On Yom Kippur, October 6, 1973, at the orders of President Anwar Sadat, Egyptian armies crossed the Suez Canal, moved anti-aircraft missiles into the canal area, and waged war on Israel. Israeli losses were high and Israel had too short a supply of equipment to conduct a prolonged war. On October 22, a cease-fire was declared, but the Israeli public's confidence had been severely shaken. Israel had been unprepared for the surprise attack and unable to repulse it quickly. The nation’s lack of preparation was blamed on Defense Minister Dayan and an outraged public demanded his resignation. Dayan submitted his resignation to Meir in 1974.
In 1977, newly elected Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave him a second chance by offering him the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs. In May 1977, Dayan began peace negotiations with the Egyptians which continued for 18 months. Eventually, with help from U.S. president and mediator Jimmy Carter, a peace agreement, the Camp David Accords, was drawn up and signed at 11 PM on Sunday 17 September 1978.
In 1979, Dayan and Begin disagreed about building settlements, and Dayan also felt he was being bypassed on foreign policy issues and he resigned.
On 14 May 1979, Dayan was diagnosed with colon cancer. He died on 16 October 1981, Tel Aviv, Israel.