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Dayan During His Military Career History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

1. Moshe Dayan was a well-known Israeli military leader and politician. He was born in May 1915 in Degania near the Sea of Galilee in Palestine which was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Dayan was the youngest son of Shmuel and Dvorah. With the beginning of his life Dayan joined Haganah the Jewish military organisation against Arab attacks when he was 14. He joined the Palestine Supernumerary Police in 1938 and became sergeant then he was imprisoned by British in Acre prison in 1939 with another forty two of his subordinates due to maintaining quantity of illegal rifles. They were released in 1941 after Chaim Weizmann’s (first President of Israel) investigation in London then he joined British Army as an officer. During World War II in Syria-Lebanon Campaign Dayan was wounded and he lost his left eye due to a rifle shot fired by a sniper from quite a few hundred yards away, due to the nature of wound he could not use artificial eye. Thereafter he dressed in a black eye patch.

2. Key appointments of Dayan during his military career were,

Haganah General Staff working on Arab affairs.

The first Commander of the 89th Armoured Battalion.

Military Commander of Jewish controlled areas in Jerusalem.

October 1949 he was promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed as the Commander Southern Command.

In 1952 he was appointed to the Operational Commander of the Northern Command.

Head of Operations General Branch.

Appointed as Chief of Staff in December 1953.

3. Key appointments of Dayan during his political career were:

Minister of Agriculture.

Minister of Defense. 

Foreign Minister.

4. During the period of Minister of Defence Dayan conducted several major operations. They were Six Day War in 1967 and Yom Kippur War in 1973.

5. Then as the Foreign Minister he was the key person to implement the Camp David Accords, a peace agreement with Egypt.

6.  In 1981 Dayan formed a new political party called Telem. During the 1981 election Telem party won two seats but country’s greatest military and political leader, Israel’s legacy or legendary hero closed his eye shortly due to a serious heart attack In Tel Aviv.


7. The aim of this presentation is to study and analysis leadership qualities of Moshe Dayan the legendary hero of Israel.


8. This presentation unfolds under following sequence.

Military career.

Political career.

Leadership qualities.

Comparison with his Counterparts



9. When he was only 14 years old, Dayan joined the Haganah, an underground organization that defended Jewish settlements from Arab attacks. In 1936, Sergeant Dayan served with several regiments when the British in charge of Palestine authorized an attachment of the Haganah. Dayan gained command of one of the Mobile Guards of the Jewish Settlement Police in 1937. By 1938, he had risen to be an instructor, training Sergeant for the Auxiliary Force. During the riots in 1936 to 1939, he served with the special police force in the Jezreel Valley and Galilee.

10. When the British banned 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 and lost his left eye. He began to wear the black eye patch that later became his identity. He remained active in the Haganah until 1948.

11. War of independence began when he commanded the defense of Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley as a major in 1948. Later he commanded the battalion that attacked the city of Lydda and helped to halt Egyptian forces on the southern front. In August 1948, he promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and he was appointed commander of the Jerusalem front. In 1949, he participated in ceasefire talks with Jordanian officials in Rhodes. By the conclusion of the conflict in 1949, Dayan wore the rank of Major General and became in charge of the Southern Command at Beersheba. Dayan’s military proficiency allowed him to rise to the appointment of chief of operations at General Headquarters in 1952.

12. During the post war years, Dayan pioneered to organize a professional Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in 1953 and he became the Chief of Staff of the IDF. In 1956, during the Sinai campaign Dayan defeated the Egyptians in eight short days. In Israel and around the world, the Black Eye Patched General became the symbol of Jewish military proficiency.

13. Dayan’s skills in training and his aggressiveness and flexibility on the battlefield made the IDF one of the world’s most efficient and effective fighting forces of all time. In 1958, Moshe Dayan retired from the Army.


14. During his tenure with British army, he served with the forces that liberated Lebanon and Syria from Vichy France during World War II. He practiced the experience he gains from the past especially the guerrilla tactics. Later he cooperated with British Intelligence to set up a broadcasting network for clandestine operations behind enemy lines. That demonstrated his capability on the intelligent aspect which he gained confidence on his command in future.


15. In 1948 when he commanded the 89th armoured battalion that attacked the city of Lydda and helped to halt Egyptian forces on the southern front when he was Lieutenant Colonel. Afternoon of 11 July, Israel’s moved into Lydda. The raid was carried out on Dayan’s initiative without coordinating it with his commander. Using a column of jeeps led by a Marmon Harrington armored vehicle with a cannon taken from the Arab Legion the day before he launched the attack in daylight, driving through the town from east to west machine gunning anything that moved, then along the Lydda-Ramle road firing at militia posts until they reached the train station in Ramle. Troops faced heavy fire from the Arab Legion in the police stations in Lydda and on the Lydda-Ramle road.

16. The raid lasted 47 minutes, leaving 100 to 150 Arabs dead. Six died and 21 were wounded on the Israeli side. The high casualty rate was caused by confusion over which Dayan’s troops were. The IDF was led by an armored car seized from the Arab Legion. Residents may have believed the Arab Legion had arrived, only to encounter Dayan’s forces shooting at everything as they ran from their homes. Dayan shows his leadership qualities of courage and initiative during this campaign.


17. In 1949, he participated in ceasefire talks with Jordanian officials at Rhodes. Dayan served on a commission held in Rhodes which had assembled to try to work out a settlement between the Jewish and the Arabs. Between 1949 and 1950, he held secret talks with King Abdullah of Jordan. The King was one of the most influential Arabs in the region and his input and support was vital if the area was to become peaceful as opposed to a hotbed of Malcontents. However, at these meetings, Dayan proved to be a tough negotiator and refused to compromise. As a result, nothing came out of these meetings that would lead to stability in the Middle East.


18. Dayan became the Chief of Staff of the IDF, and the entire Israeli military began to take on his personality. Dayan carried out a major reorganization of the Israeli army, which included:

a. Raising the Intelligence and Training Branches of the Israeli Army.

b. Surrendering the activities of stores and procurement to the civilian Ministry of Defense.

c. Revamping the mobilization scheme and ensuring earmarking for adequate equipment.

d. Starting a military academy for officers of the rank of major and above.

e. Emphasized strike forces (Air Force, Armour) and on training of Commando battalions.

f. Developed a youth wing for military training.

19. This is where he highlighted his great qualities of leadership of sound knowledge, planning capability and organizing ability.


20. Israeli units parachuted into the eastern approaches of the Mitla Pass near the Suez Canal on 29 October 1956. It was a political objective rather than tactical or strategic objective. The action provided the pretext for a French and British ultimatum to Israel and Egypt, calling on both sides to cease hostilities and withdraw from the Canal area. For diversionary reasons, Israeli forces also advanced on southern and central axes.

21. The following day, October 30, Britain and France issued the planned ultimatum, but to no effect, as heavy fighting between Egyptian and Israeli units persisted. In a swift, sweeping operation of 100 hours, under the leadership of then Chief of the General Staff, Moshe Dayan, the entire Sinai peninsula fell into Israeli hands, at a cost of 231 soldiers killed. In this stage he practiced his initiative much more comprehensive manner as a real leader who took decision past where opponent never had a chance to reflect.

22. In Israel and around the world, the Black Eye Patched General became the symbol of Jewish military proficiency. As a custom, Dayan disliked on anything not directly related to combat readiness. He emphasized weapons marksmanship, advantages of use of terrain, and an overall aggressiveness.


23. The world of politics and government was not strange to Moshe Dayan because as chief of staff he carried parliamentary responsibilities for conduct of military affairs in large capacity. At the end of his term as chief of staff he shed off uniform and joined at the Hebrew university of Jerusalem as a student in the political science faculty for period of two year. It was helped him to make better foundation to approach political field in perfect way. With that foundation he joined Israel`s labor party and elected and joined as a prestige member of Knesset (parliament) for Mapai area on 3 November 1959.


24. Dayan was appointed as minister of agriculture in the government of David Ben Gurion from 1959 unit 1964. This subject was not new field to him because he born and brought up in a farming atmosphere field. The orchard, the cowshed, the season of planting and harvesting were deeply infused in his blood more than tanks, guns and fighting. With his inherent experience he was able to identify problems which were faced in the agriculture field. He found that farmers faced financial difficulties and technical problems due to low prices for products, high production cost and financial difficulties to buy new tool and machineries. He analysed and identified agriculture systems of other counties. By analyzing, he was able to establish a planning authority, production and marketing council for each branch of agriculture. He made regional offices throughout the country where local farmers could receive agriculture guidance and services.


25. Dayan’s reputation as an effective leader grew when he was appointed Minister of Defense under Levi Eshkol just in time for the Six-Day War in 1967 against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. During Yom Kippur war his actions was critically condemned by people of Israel due to huge frailer of Israel military force. The nation’s lack of preparation was blamed on Defense Minister Dayan and an outraged public demanded his resignation. This was caused him to give resignation to Meir in 1974 and he left his appointment.


26. The Six-Day War was initiated by General Moshe Dayan as the Israeli’s Defence Minister. Although General Dayan did not take part in most of the planning before the Six-Day War of June 1967, his appointment contributed to the Israeli success. When the Syrians were shelling Israeli villages in Upper Galilee, Dayan was the one who made the decision to launch a full-scale attack against the Syrians. Rather than wait to be attacked, the Israelis launched a hugely successful military campaign against its perceived enemies. The air forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq were all destroyed in fifth June. By seventh of June, many Egyptian tanks had been destroyed in the Sinai Desert and Israeli forces reached the Suez Canal. On the same day, the whole of the west bank of the Jordan River had been cleared of Jordanian forces. The Golan Heights were captured from Syria and Israeli forces moved 30 miles into Syria itself.


27. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat launched a surprise attack against Israel. On Yom Kippur, October 6, 1973, 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.

28. 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 president of the Supreme Court set up a commission to investigate the performance of generals during the war. The commission recommended the resignation of the Chief of Staff, but reserved judgment on Dayan. The press and the public, however, condemned him. After attending a military funeral at which bereaved parents had called him a murderer of their sons, Dayan submitted his resignation to Meir in 1974.


29. Year 1977, newly elected Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave him a second chance by offering him the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs. Although Dayan was from the opposition Labor Party, he accepted the appointment because he believed,

“I could significantly influence Israel`s moves towards achieving a peace arrangement with our neighboring Arab States and with the Palestinian inhabitants of Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip.”

30. In May 1977, Dayan began negotiating with the Egyptians. As lead negotiator, Dayan began with the premise of receiving an Arab acceptance of Israeli rule over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in exchange for a return of Sinai to Egypt. He negotiated for 18 months, and held secret meetings with officials in India, Iran, England and Morocco.

31. With help from U.S. president and mediator Jimmy Carter, Dayan met with the Egyptians first at Leeds Castle and later at Camp David. Eventually, a peace agreement, the Camp David Accords, was drawn up and signed at 11 p.m. on Sunday September 17, 1978

32. In 1979, Dayan resigned as Foreign Minister. Dayan and Begin disagreed about the building of settlements in the territories and Dayan was frustrated by the fact that he was not leading the autonomy talks with the Palestinians. Dayan also felt that he was increasingly being bypassed on foreign policy issues. In 1981, he formed the Telem party, which advocated unilateral disengagement from the territories occupied in 1967. The party received only two mandates in the subsequent elections.



33. Six day war against Egypt, Jordan and Syria is shows Moshe Dayan’s initiative significantly. When Syrians were shelling Israeli villages Dayan took the initiative to launch a full scale attack against Syrians. He was able to make it successful within very short time, giving deterrence to the Arab countries. It had highlighted the Moshe Dayan’s initiative and decision taking ability as an effective military leader.


34. Moshe Dayan was a commander who had a fantastic knowledge about own and enemy. He had studied science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He possessed perfect knowledge on his job all the time. Almost immediately the independence of Israel, the new state was attacked by a coalition of neighboring Arab states. Dayan put into practice his knowledge and what he had learnt fighting in World War II.

36. As Minister of Agriculture, he toured with the same zeal that he had as Defence Minister, resorting more to seeing to the implementation of his instruction rather than being confined to an office. Though the Prime Minister and the Cabinet were not too keen on using the expertise of Dayan, they were however forced by the mass to emplace him as the Defence Minister, due to his extensive knowledge on the subject.

37. Dayan was an asset to the Israeli Higher Command as he could discuss operational matters with them at their level and offer practical options. He stressed on the development of the intellectual standards of the officer corps of the IDF and took steps to provide them with a University Education on government expenses.


38. His sense of proximity to death explains leading aspects of his character. Further his courage on battle field has been proven as the Chief of Staff. Within five years, from 1948 to 1953 he climbed up to Chief of Staff from the battalion commander. He believed that the appointment means causing the general staff to become revolutionary. When he took up Israel Army in 1951 it was fed up after the failure of Tel Aviv against Syrian Army. He shook up it and changed in to an aggressive army with his commencement of Chief of Staff.

39. Moshe Dayan saw no need for American guarantees of Israel’s security and strongly opposed America’s conditions, that Israel forswears territorial expansion and military retaliation. In an informal talk with the ambassadors to Washington, London, and Paris, Dayan described military retaliation 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 Army.


40. As a young man he was a guard in the village fields, later joined 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 lost an eye in a battle with Vichy forces in Syria. With all those incidents his enthusiasm took him to long way as an exemplary military leader.


41. He suffered heavy criticism for not being prepared for the Arab attack during the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, Dayan became a controversial figure in Israel Although elected to the Ninth Knesset as a Lobour party member, he served as Foreign Minister in the beginning of the government until 1980-1981 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.


42. During the crisis preceding the Six Day War Dayan was appointed as 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.


43. Dayan was the most fascinating and born leader who enjoyed more power during his leadership experience in both military and political. Although no one question about his overuse of power since he introduce totally new mechanism in military campaign as well in political campaign which helped to develop and ensure the security within the Middle East. Besides it has been helped by his capability of well handling of language which able to negotiate his modernizing ideas with the audience.

44. 1958 he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Army. He successfully commanded the Israel forces throughout the Sinai Campaign of 1956. And also the entire Israeli military began to take on his personality. Dayan carried out a major reorganization of the Israeli army; this is where he highlighted his great qualities of leadership of sound knowledge, planning capability and as an organizer. 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.







Early life

Enthusiasm and gain much experience which lead to become a strong leader

Auare knowledge not the experience

Aqure knowledge

Gain profeciency and decentcy which help to become a peaseful leader

Military carrier

Courage and enthusiasm

Gain courage in revolution 1952

Gain courage in revolution 1952

Proficiency in Air force carrier

As the Chief of Staff

Knowledge, modernizer and originator, Pride-Command

Minister of Defence

Initiative, planner

Cooperation with Gamal, Knowledge

As political leader


Knowledge and courage during Suez crisis 1956, modernizer in politics

Initiative, peace negotiator

Cunning, Knowledge

Six day War

Initiative, planner

Failure in Initiative and assessing

Failure in assessing

Yom Kippur war

Self-confidence, loss of Initiative

Initiative, Enthusiasm

45. Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military warrior and politician who became a supporter for peace too. He was skilled in not only battle but also diplomacy. He played a key role in four wars and also helped to negotiate the historic Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Gamal Abdel Nasser was the president of Egypt in the same era as opponent of Dayan. He took the power over Egypt by revolution and became president. He was the only one leader in the region to go against western countries over the Suez crisis in 1956. Anwar Sadat came to power in Egypt with the death of Gamal in1970 who supported Gamal to come in to power. Hafez al-Assad was the president in Syria in that era and he was respect the peace negotiations rather than utilizes force to solve the Meddle-east crisis.


46. Moshe Dayan as a commander had a sound knowledge about own and enemy. He possessed perfect knowledge of his job too. He gains that knowledge from his carrier from the childhood, when he joined with Haganah and from rest of carrier up to became officer in the Army. Then he exercised that knowledge during his period of Chief of staff, where he renovated the IDF and also as an Agriculture Minister where he introduced a new mechanism which help farmers to reach supervises closely for the advices.

47. When we consider the other counterparts, they were also had the same experience in their young life exempt Hafez, where they too able to acquire much knowledge. Gamal and Sadat both were worked in the Egypt Army together and had many experience their career. Latter they were utilized their possessed knowledge to become state leaders. Thereafter Gamal made many changes to economy in Egypt which country had lead towards development.


48. Dayan was the most fascinating and origin leader who enjoyed more power during his leadership experience in both military and political career compared to other three leaders. He was always to introduce creative assets in any professional where he command or served without any reluctant. Although, Gamal Abdel Nasser was practice the quality of modernization during his period of presidency to develop the economic aspect in Egypt.


49. Dayan was the most courageous leader in that era in the region of middle-east. He proved that during his military carrier while he was conducting the operation Lidda and during Sinai campaign. And also as a Defence Minister during Six-day war. The following quotes which Dayan expresses clearly demonstrated his courage over the region:

“Let us not be afraid to see the hatred that consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood”.

50. Gamal and Sadat too had quality of courage where they demonstrated during their revolution to become to power in Egypt. Although that, Hafez Al-Assad not showed much this quality during his carrier because he always respected the proficiency which lead to take peace rather than war in his life.


51. The most powerful leadership quality possessed by Moshe Dayan in his career. While he was performing in military, he always practice this quality even his higher authority disparate. It was significantly demonstrated in Six-day war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan defeating other leader’s initiative and assessing capabilities. Gamal and Sadat too possessed with the initiative which they collected from military carrier. Then they took it to practice during their revolution against the government existed in 1952. Compared to all above three leaders, Hafez had less experience on this aspect.


52. This is the leadership quality which Dayan was able to attract the most of the people in the region towards him. And also entire Army also followed him as role model. Comparing to Moshe Dayan other three leader never had this quality in their carrier. The following quote also emphasis his pride over command which he practiced throughout his life.

“Our American friends offer us money, arms, and advice. We take the money, we take the arms, and we decline the advice”. 


53. Not only as a military leader but also as a political leader he succeeded. While he was performing as a Minister of Agriculture, introduce a new mechanism to enhance the field of agriculture in the Israel: establish a planning authority, production and marketing council for each branch of agriculture. He made regional offices throughout the country where local farmers could receive agriculture guidance and services. This was where he saws his sound leadership qualities in out of military scenario where he proved that leaders are always created by the military.

54. Comparatively to former agricultural ministers such as Kadish luz (1955-1959), Peretez Naftali (1952-1955), Levi Eshkol (1951-1952), who served in Israel, Moshe Dayan made brilliant magnificent contribution to enhance agriculture development during his period as agriculture minister. His experience, brilliant leader ship qualities and vast knowledge about the field paved way for systematical improvement in various field of agriculture.

55. Once he was given another chance by Menachem Begin to undertake as Foreign Minister, he commence his work believing that he could significantly influence Israel’s moves towards achieving a peace arrangement with their neighboring Arab States and with the Palestinian inhabitants of Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. During this period he was able to get all other counter pert to the peace table and he could make others to think twice prior to take a decision against Israel. And it paved way for disparities in between his Arab opponents.

56. That differentiated the leadership qualities of Moshe Dayan from other contemporary leaders within the country and even from the region was significant.


57. Moshe Dayan who was born to the world on May 20, 1915 where is not having a piece of land even nationality for his people, he was able to build a country called Israel, piece by piece. He gave a county to people who did not have country. He gave a nationality to people who fought for their identity. Moshe Dayan became one of Israel’s most famous men and found fame as a military leader associated with victories that were seemingly impossible within the Middle East conflicts. Dayan developed the aura of a military ‘superman’.

58. Throughout Moshe Dayan’s life as an Israel military and political leader number of leadership qualities can be identified and proved himself to nation long way from creating country for Jews even didn’t had piece of land on their own. His courage, determination, knowledge, self confidence, enthusiasm, will power, integrity, loyalty, approachability build a country within another country, gave recognition to the nation Jews state Israel. Moshe Dayan was a good diplomat who believed peace, a hugely successful military leader who developed a legendary status. But he never forgot his ambition, once he stated his view on USA:

“Our American friends offer us money, arms, and advice. We take the money, we take the arms, and we decline the advice”. 

59. Dayan’s never forgot his nation, his country when liberating land from Arabs. He never forgot other nations in the world with keeping national strategy. Dayan’s career is probably unequalled in Israel’s short history. He successfully crossed over to politics and held a number of highly influential government posts before he left politics. Senior military figures had tried to do the same move from the military to politics – but many have failed.

60. Moshe Dayan was a leader who is a leader of the sense of the word. He possessed several qualities through his whole life as one of the greatest leader in the history who became a legend in his own life time. He loved his enemy too. He always gave his warm hand for peace but with an eagle eye. On 16 October 1981 this great leader General Moshe Dayan left the world to Shamayim (heaven) in Tel Aviv.

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