We shared in part one how Moshe Dayan rose to fame as a military hero. He joined the Hagana militia at the age of 14 and guided Israel through the Six Day War to one of the most lopsided victories in the history of warfare. In Part two we learn However, in 73, with Dayan still the defense minister, the Arabs launched a surprise attack from Syria and Egypt on Yom Kippur. While Israelis were fasting all over the nation, Egypt and Syria attacked. Expect for a few IDF commanders whose concerns fell upon deaf ears, no one saw it coming. Israel was caught off guard.
As we will detail in our episode on the Valley of Tears, Israel, though outnumbered by the Soviet-backed Syrians, miraculously drove the them out of the Golan Heights. Israel won the Yom Kippur War, but it was Dayan who blamed for not being battle-ready.
Dayan’s actions just after the miraculous recapturing of Jerusalem during the Six-Day-War may have sealed his fate, if you believe that God was behind the victory and had an opinion regrding the aftermath. After removing the Israeli flag from the Temple Mount, and then commanding the paratroopers to evacuate, Moshe Dayan declared, “We have returned to the holiest of our places, never to be parted from them again…We did not come to conquer the sacred sites of others or to restrict their religious rights, but rather to ensure the integrity of the city and to live in it with others in fraternity.”
On the one hand, this showed that Israelis were not like the Jordanians, who destroyed every Jewish building or symbol after 1948, when all Jews were removed from the ancient Old City of Jerusalem. On the other hand, if God had returned the Temple Mount to Israel, who were we to allow Islamists free access…to the point that today, I, as an Israeli can only visit the Temple Mount and that with great difficulty, while Hamas activists have constant and free access.
Dayan made it possible for Jews to visit the Temple Mount, but were forbidden to pray. Later, the secularist Dayan remarked that the Temple Mount is a Prayer mosque for Muslims, but merely an historical site for Jews.
I remember many years ago, leading a group of tourists up on the Temple Mount. I didn’t know the rules. As I gathered them together I boldly declared, “I don’t care what the Muslims say! This is our Temple Mount and we will pray here whether they like it or not.” As I began to pray the tour guide broke through our little circle in a panic, “You can’t do that! They are listening to you. There are microphones everywhere.”
Suddenly I didn’t feel so bold, knowing that some Hamas activist was monitoring my bravado. How sad that neither Jews nor Christians are allowed to utter a word of thanksgiving at the place where Abraham bound Isaac, and where the first and second Temples stood—the greatest monument to the existence of Ancient Israel.
Moshe Dayan, for all his heroics, was a secularist. He was not seeking what was in God’s heart, but what was politically acceptable. He did not want to keep the Golan Heights, but wanted to trade it back to the Syrians for peace—as if that was even a possibility. He opposed the Kibbutzim, the collective farms that settled the Golan.
Dayan was thought of by his peers to be brilliant, yet irresponsible, brave, yet, not willing to be held accountable for mistakes. While he loved the Jewish people, he had little respect for Judaism, once remarking when rabbis flocked to the Temple Mount just after it was liberated, “What is this? The Vatican?”
Dayan died of a massive heart attack in 1981.