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Moshe Dayan

(1915—1981) Israeli statesman and general

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(b. 20 May 1915, d. 16 Oct. 1981).

Israeli general and Minister of Defence, 1967–74 Born in Kibbutz Degania, he studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he joined the Haganah. In 1941, he became a member of its elite corps, the Palmah Assault Forces, and took part in a joint assault with the British against the Vichy forces in Syria, where he lost his left eye. He distinguished himself in the Israeli War of Independence (1948–9), and thereafter rose to become Chief of Staff in 1953. He commanded the armed forces during the Sinai War of 1956, but retired from the army in 1958 in order to take up a political career. A Mapai (Israel Workers' Party) Member of Parliament (Knesset) from 1959, he became Minister of Agriculture under Ben‐Gurion, with whom he left the party in 1963 to join his new Rafi party. He resigned his ministry in 1964, but due to his general popularity Eshkol was forced to appoint him Minister of Defence in 1967. He was one of the principal leaders of the Six Day War, taking much of the credit for its success even though that was due more to the quiet Rabin. His reputation suffered, however, when the army proved ill‐prepared for the Yom Kippur War of 1973. He was left out of Rabin's Cabinet in 1974, but served as Foreign Minister under Begin, when he played an important role in the peace negotiations with Egypt leading up to Camp David. He resigned in 1979 over policy differences and founded his own party, which did not survive him.

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