DAYAN, MOSHE. (1915-1981). Israeli military leader. SP. (In Hebrew “Moshe Dayan”). 1p. Oblong 8vo. [Jerusalem, September 3, 1975]. A black-and-white Israeli Press Office photograph taken by Moshe Milner showing Dayan, wearing his characteristic black eye patch, seated next to the first Bedouin Knesset Member SHEIKH HAMAD ABU RABIA (1929-1981) during a break in a Knesset debate on the Interim Agreement between Israel and Egypt.
Born on the first kibbutz in future Israel, Dayan was raised on the first “moshav,” or farming cooperative, and joined the Jewish defense force, Haganah, at the age of 14. There he was mentored by the pro-Zionist British intelligence officer Orde Wingate. In 1941, while participating in the infiltration of Vichy occupied Lebanon, Dayan lost his left eye when a French sniper shot the binoculars he was using. Despite his injury, Dayan continued his military career, joined Haganah’s General Staff in 1947 and served, at the insistence of David Ben-Gurion, as military commander of the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem in 1948.
As Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from 1953-1958, Dayan directed the 1956 Sinai campaign against Egypt and his prestige was enhanced by Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. However, Dayan was accused of unpreparedness in the October War six years later. In 1973, armed conflict again broke out between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. The Yom Kippur War, which Egypt hoped would return portions of the Suez Canal and Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian control, lasted 19 days and resulted in heavy casualties and a near conflict between the nuclear superpowers of the Soviet Union and United States, who were supplying each side. It also served to shake Israel’s faith in its military prowess, making the state more amenable to diplomatic channels, leading to accusations of unpreparedness against Dayan. Following the ceasefire, negotiations eventually led to the Interim Agreement between Israel and Egypt (known as “Sinai II”), signed in Geneva on September 4, 1975, by which Israel agreed to withdraw from certain Egyptian territories, Egypt agreed to allow Israeli vessels through the Suez Canal and both parties accepted the creation of a UN monitored buffer zone. Our photograph was taken during the September 3, 1975, discussions of the Interim Agreement on the floor of the Knesset, (source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/government_press_office/6458640237/).
Although his party allegiance changed over time, Dayan was a member of the Knesset from 1959-1981 but resigned as defense minister in May 1974 because of criticism over his handling of the Yom Kippur War. In 1977, he accepted a position as foreign minister under Menachem Begin, and was instrumental in negotiating the Camp David Accords, the historic 1978 peace agreement with Egypt. During his eventful military and political careers, Dayan earned a reputation as a canny military tactician, a sometimes-controversial politician and a living icon of Israel’s military prowess.
In 1973, Abu Rabia became the first Bedouin elected to the Knesset as the single seat for the political party known as the Arab List for Bedouin and Villagers. He refused to abdicate his seat to Druze politician Sheikh Jabr Muadi, despite a prior agreement, and was assassinated by one of Muadi’s sons in January 1981.
Signed in blue ink in the lower left margin. In excellent condition and mounted on a larger, yellow sheet. [indexhistory] [indexJudaica]