Moshe Dayan’s personal letters up for auction

July 28, 2015 03:10
1 minute read.
yom kippur war

Then-prime minister Golda Meir (R) accompanied by then-defense minister Moshe Dayan, meets with Israeli soldiers at a base on the Golan Heights after intense fighting during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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If you know anything about Moshe Dayan, you know he wore an eye patch.

Dayan lost his left eye in 1941 to a French sniper in Syria. After a long recovery period, he donned the iconic black eye patch.

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On July 30, an archive of personal letters related to the loss of his eye will go up for auction at Nate D. Sanders Auctions.

The letters include his personal account of the incident and the original hospital bill. In one letter, Dayan pleads to be restored to active duty: “I wish to beg of you to help me to be received to the Cadre Squad of the Palestinian Forces in Sarafand, although I have lost one of my eyes while on active service with our British Forces on the invasion of Syria,” Dayan wrote to then British Lt.-Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson.

“I do not wish to ask any special favors,” he continues, “except that I shall be allowed to pass the medical examination. The rest I shall try and fulfill to my abilities.

I shall be very grateful if you consider my case and give me your decision.”

When he lost his eye, Dayan was fighting for the Australian 7th Division of the British Army against Vichy French troops in Syria. Dayan’s full report of that night’s mission, typed in Hebrew with handwritten notes and also included among the documents, details the episode hour by hour.

“At 0100 hrs, we reached the bridge,” which, he writes, was guarded by sentries and wired to explode.

They waited, and “at 0400 hrs, we decided to move to Iskandaroun to help the British forces [capture the town].”

They moved from building to building while under fire until, Dayan writes, “I aimed the French machine gun I had at them and I looked through the scope in order to determine their exact location. At that moment, a bullet they fired hit my eye and arm and I lost action fitness.”

Also included in the archive is a bill from a Paris hospital for follow-up eye surgery totaling 12.389 francs, with a five franc note stuck to the bottom.

The bidding will start at $75,000.

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