Moshe Dayan

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Moshe Dayan

Moshe Dayan (20 May 1915 - 16 October 1981), was an Israeli military leader and politician.

Sourced

  • There is no more Palestine. Finished . . .
    • TIME Magazine (30 July 1973)
  • In two cases I did not fulfill my role as defense minister, in that I did not stop things that I was sure should have been stopped.
  • Along the Syria border there were no farms and no refugee camps — there was only the Syrian army... The kibbutzim saw the good agricultural land ... and they dreamed about it... They didn't even try to hide their greed for the land... We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was...The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war, were not a threat to us.
    • On the taking of the Golan Heights in 1967, indicating many of the firefights with the Syrians were deliberately provoked by Israel, and that many who pressed the government to take the Golan Heights did so less for security than for farmland; in a 1976 interview with Rami Tal, as quoted in The New York Times and Associated Press reports (11 May 1997)
  • It is not in our hands to prevent the murder of workers… and families… but it is in our hands to fix a high price for our blood, so high that the Arab community and the Arab military forces will not be willing to pay it.
    • As quoted in Warrior: the autobiography of Ariel Sharon (1989)
  • We have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.
    • Yossi Beilin, Mehiro shel Ihud (Revivim, 1985), 42 speaking of the Palestinians
  • The quote is taken from an address Dayan gave to Technion University students on March 19, 1969. A transcription of the speech appeared in Ha'aretz on April 4, 1969.
In answer to a student's question suggesting that Israel adopt a policy of punishing Arabs who commit crimes in the West Bank by deportation to Jordan, Dayan answers that he is vehemently opposed to this idea, insisting that the answer to the longstanding Arab-Israeli problem is to learn to live together with Arab neighbors. He goes on to say:
“We came to a region that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. In many places, we purchased the land from Arabs and set up Jewish villages where there had once been Arab villages. You don't even know the names [of the previous Arab villages] and I don't blame you, because those geography books aren't around anymore. Not only the books, the villages aren't around...”
Dayan's conclusion was that the solution to the Arab-Israeli problem is to learn to coexist with them.

Righteous Victims (1999)

Quotes of Dayan from Righteous Victims : A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 by Benny Morris
  • Using the moral yardstick mentioned by [Moshe Sharett], I must ask: Are [we justified] in opening fire on the Arabs who cross [the border] to reap the crops they planted in our territory; they, their women, and their children? Will this stand up to moral scrutiny . . .? We shoot at those from among the 200,000 hungry arabs who cross the line — will this stand up to moral review? Arabs cross to collect the grain that they left in the abandoned villages and we set mines for them and they go back without an arm or a leg. . . [It may be that this] cannot pass review, but I know no other method of guarding the borders. then tomorrow the State of Israel will have no borders.
    • On the anti-infiltration policy in the early 1950s
  • The only method that proved effective, not justified or moral but effective, when Arabs plant mines on our side [is retaliation]. If we try to search for the [particular] Arab [who planted mines], it has not value. But if we harass the nearby village . . . then the population there comes out against the [infiltrators] . . . and the Egyptian Government and the Transjordanian Government are [driven] to prevent such incidents, because their prestige is [assailed], as the Jews have opened fire, and they are unready to begin a war . . . the method of collective punishment so far has proved effective.

The Iron Wall (1999)

Quotes of Dayan from The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World by Avi Shlaim
  • Let us not today fling accusation at the murderers. What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.
    We should demand his blood not from the Arabs of Gaza but from ourselves. . . . Let us make our reckoning today. We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house. . . . Let us not be afraid to see the hatred that accompanies and consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit all around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood.
  • We could not guard every water pipeline from being blown up and every tree from being uprooted. We could not prevent every murder of a worker in an orchard or a family in their beds. But it was in our power to set high price for our blood, a price too high for the Arab community, the Arab army, or the Arab governments to think it worth paying. . . It was in our power to cause the Arab governments to renounce 'the policy of strength' toward Israel by turning it into a demonstration of weakness.
  • All that is required is to find an officer, even a captain would do, to win his heart or buy him with money to get him to agreed to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, occupy the necessary territory, create a Christian regime that will ally itself with Israel. The territory from Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel, and everything will fall into place.
    • While trying to work out a plan to internally destabilize Lebanon in favor of a Christian-Maronite government.
  • A new State of Israel with broad frontiers, strong and solid, with the authority of the Israel Government extending from the Jordan to the Suez Canal.
    • Statement made in April 1973 from the peaks of Massada.
  • During the last 100 years our people have been in a process of building up the country and the nation, of expansion, of getting additional Jews and additional settlements in order to expand the borders here. Let no Jew say that the process has ended. Let no Jew say that we are near the end of the road.
    • Ma'ariv, 7 July 1968.

Unsourced

  • Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.
  • I know of nothing more exciting than war.
  • If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
  • Our American friends offer us money, arms, and advice. We take the money, we take the arms, and we decline the advice.
  • We have returned to the holiest of our Holy Places, never to part from it again.
    • On the unification of Jerusalem by Israeli forces

Misattributions

  • [Israel] must see the sword as the main, if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Toward this end it may, no — it must — invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation-and-revenge...
    • This has been reported to be a direct quotation of Dayan in the diaries of Moshe Sharett, but is actually derived from an interpretive commentary by Livia Rokach in "Israel's Sacred Terrorism" (1980) upon statements of Dayan reported in Sharett's diaries, from accounts provided to him by Ya'acob Herzog and Gideon Raphael — in other words: a third-hand interpretation of Dayan's meaning, based on a second hand report of his arguments. Sharett's summation of Dayan's statements of 26 May 1955 read:
We do not need a security pact with the U.S.: such a pact will only constitute an obstacle for us. We face no danger at all of an Arab advantage of force for the next 8-10 years. Even if they receive massive military aid from the West, we shall maintain our military superiority thanks to our infinitely greater capacity to assimilate new armaments. The security pact will only handcuff us and deny us the freedom of action which we need in the coming years. Reprisal actions which we couldn't carry out if we were tied to a security pact are our vital lymph ... they make it possible for us to maintain a high level of tension among our population and in the army. Without these actions we would have ceased to be a combative people and without the discipline of a combative people we are lost. We have to cry out that the Negev is in danger, so that young men will go there....
Rokach's interpretive assessment of this diary entry by Sharett produces:
The conclusions from Dayan's words are clear: This State has no international obligations, no economic problems, the question of peace is nonexistent... It must calculate its steps narrow-mindedly and live on its sword. It must see the sword as the main, if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Toward this end it may, no — it must — invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation-and-revenge.. . . And above all — let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries, so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space.

Quotations about Dayan

  • He would wake up with a hundred ideas. Of them ninety-five were dangerous; three more were bad; the remaining two, however, were brilliant.
  • Dayan didn't want the government to allow the kibbutzim to build there afterwards — he hoped to trade it back for peace.
    • Amos Eran on the taking of the Golan Heights, as quoted in The Washington Post (12 May 1997)
  • Moshe Dayan unfolded one plan after another for direct action. The first — what should be done to force open blockade of the Gulf of Eilat. A ship flying the Israeli flag should be sent, and if the Egyptians bomb it, we should bomb the Egyptian base from the air, or conquer Ras al-Naqb, or open our way south of Gaza Strip to the coast. There was a general uproar. I asked Moshe: Do you realize that this would mean war with Egypt?, he said: Of course.
    • Moshe Sharett, as quoted in Iron Wall (1999) by Avi Shlaim, on a suggestion in the mid-1950s to lure Egypt into a war to neutralize the modernization of its army.
  • Moshe Dayan saw no need for American guarantees of Israel's security and strongly opposed America's conditions i.e. that Israel forswear territorial expansion and military retaliation. In an informal talk with the ambassadors to Washington, London, and Paris, Dayan describe military retaliations as a "life drug" to the Israel Army. First, it obliged the Arab governments to take drastic measures to protect their borders. Second, and this was the essence, it enabled the Israeli government to maintain a high degree of tension in the country and the army. Gideaon Rafael, also present at the meeting with Dayan, remarked to Moshe Sharett: "This is how fascism began in Italy and Germany!"
    • Iron Wall (1999) by Avi Shlaim

External links

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