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Brigadier General (Res.) Uzi Dayan dreamed of becoming the chief of General Staff - but had his hopes dashed. Afterwards, in his capacity as head of the National Security Council, he was convinced that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would give his views considerable weight, but Sharon gave him only marching orders.
The surveys this week seem to indicate that Uzi Dayan is once again looking at disappointment. His Tafnit Party appears to have little chance of winning enough votes to get into the Knesset.
I am not surprised. The Israel Defense Forces produces excellent generals but, like any army, also mediocre ones as well. I remember well how surprised I was during the latter period of the Oslo agreements with Yasser Arafat and his gang to see Dayan fighting to be included in the delegation as the IDF representative to the negotiations. Dayan immediately removed his IDF uniform and claimed in an emotional speech that his civilian suit was in fact the suit of a diplomat.
THE TRUTH is that I needn't have been surprised, because I first heard about Uzi Dayan when he was still a colonel in 1982. Zvi Malchin, the Mossad's brilliant operations officer, called me urgently from Lebanon in the summer of that year and asked me to communicate to defense minister Ariel Sharon that the Israel Air Force bombing targets in Beirut on that day were the wrong ones and that Sharon should immediately intervene and terminate the bombing.
I called Sharon from the defense minister's bureau in Tel Aviv where I was serving - Sharon was meeting with prime minister Menachem Begin at the time - and passed Malchin's warning on to him. Sharon, who had a great deal of respect for Malchin's opinion, immediately canceled those bombings.
The next day, when Malchin arrived in Tel Aviv, he told me about a young, energetic officer by the name of Uzi Dayan who was stationed in the IDF's headquarters in Lebanon and was in charge of the coordination of some of the bombings of targets in Beirut by IAF planes. The bombs were aimed at the place where Arafat and his officers were supposed to have been hiding in order to eliminate them, in accordance with Begin's decision. Except that Malchin learned in Beirut that the information that Phalangist officers were giving Uzi Dayan regarding the location of the PLO leaders' hiding places was very often wrong and that they were using IAF planes to kill their own personal enemies in western Beirut.
"I explained the deception by the Phalangists to Uzi Dayan and said that we needed to be more cautious," Zvika told me, "but he didn't care and recommended additional bombings. And afterwards, he had the nerve to sit around with his officers and badmouth the defense minister [Sharon] for going to war in Lebanon - and for bombing Beirut."
Malchin was very angry. During that summer of 1982, the siege of Beirut was extended, in large part because of the Mossad's failure in carrying out Begin's orders to eliminate Arafat. The senior Mossad officials that were responsible for this monumental failure have never been called to task. On the contrary, they have since left the service and made millions of dollars from the international businesspeople that they got to know as a result of their service in the Mossad.
WHEN ARIEL Sharon was elected prime minister, he inherited Uzi Dayan in the position of national security adviser from his predecessor Ehud Barak. Sharon treated him generously and indulgently. After all, he had known Uzi's talented and astute uncle, Moshe Dayan, very well.
But Uzi Dayan was soon suspected of having leaked information to the papers, of thereby attempting to dictate policy to Sharon by means of divulging to the press the mediocre work plans prepared by the National Security Council that he headed.
In any case, poetic justice was done in July 2003, when Sharon wrote to Dayan, "â€¦Sadly, the relations of trust that might have been expected to develop given your family name did not develop between us." And he showed Uzi the door.
Uzi Dayan represents a brand of mediocre politician that because of senior positions held in the past, strives with blind - and dangerous - ambition to climb up to the top of the pyramid. Remember Dan Meridor, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Roni Milo, and Yitzhak Mordechai? Before the 1996 elections, each of those foolish politicians thought he was prime-ministerial material.
Israel is endangered by these examples of mediocrity - no less than by the Hamas.
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