Vandals desecrated the grave of former defense minister and IDF chief of staff
Moshe Dayan Monday night on the 31st anniversary of his death.
spray paint surrounded by splotches of red, vandals wrote “Minister of failure –
in the name of the fallen” on the grave at Moshav Nahalal in the Jezreel Valley,
Dayan’s childhood home.
Migdal Ha’emek police have opened an
investigation into the crime. They said Tuesday night that they have no suspects
so far. Police believe the vandalism took place not long before it was
discovered and reported to police. The graffiti was found by a civilian at the
cemetery on Tuesday morning who contacted the police.
The writing could
possibly be a reference to the Yom Kippur War, which broke out a little over 39
years ago in October 1973.
Dayan was defense minister during that war,
and his public image was tarnished by Israeli public criticism of his conduct,
when 2,688 IDF soldiers fell in battle.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
issued a condemnation on Tuesday afternoon, saying “we cannot accept the routine
desecration of graves, burial sites and holy places.”
He spoke during a
ceremony held at the Knesset to mark the 11th anniversary of the death of former
tourism minister Rehavam “Gandhi” Ze’evi, assassinated in the Jerusalem Hyatt
hotel on Mount Scopus on October 17, 2001.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin,
also speaking at the ceremony, said “if ‘Gandhi’ was with us today, he would
have harshly condemned the desecration of the grave of Moshe Dayan. In spite of
the differences in their approaches to things, ‘Gandhi’ would not have allowed
us to let this act pass quietly.”
Rivlin added “the desecration of
Dayan’s grave marks a new low in the Israeli culture of argument. This bears
painful witness that our society has lost its ability to dispute and argue with
one another in a logical, respectful and considerate way.”
added that Israel cannot accept such acts that desecrate “the memory of people
who belonged to the generation of fighters and founders of the State of
Born on Kibbutz Deganya – established October 10, 1910 – Dayan
participated in the invasion of Vichy-controlled Lebanon alongside the British
in 1941, where he lost his left eye. He was in charge of the Israeli forces that
fired on the Irgun ship Altalena in 1948, an event that – had it spiraled out of
control – could have meant civil war in Israel between the Jewish Left and
Later Dayan was chief of staff during the invasion of Egypt in
Most famously, he was appointed defense minister just in time to
participate in the victory of the Six Day War.
Leading up to the Yom
Kippur War, Dayan argued with then-prime minister Golda Meir over the need to
mobilize troops, and he opposed a preemptive strike.
When the surprise
attack by Egyptian and Syrian forces came, it knocked the IDF off balance for
several days on both fronts. To this day the war remains a traumatic event in
the history of Israel, and both Dayan and Meir paid dearly for the war in the
Israeli collective memory.
Seth Frantzman contributed to this report.