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Knesset Honors Moshe Dayan on 15th Anniversary of Death

The Knesset took a break from its routine this week to commemorate Moshe Dayan on the 15th anniversary of his death.

Dayan, the Israeli military leader and statesman, visibly known for his black eyepatch, was born in 1915 on Kibbutz Deganya near the Sea of Galilee.

During World War II, he fought with the British and lost his left eye during an Allied operation against French Vichy forces in Lebanon.

He was a commander in the pre-state fighting forces, and later held senior command positions in the Israeli army.

As chief of staff, Dayan directed Israel’s Sinai Campaign in 1956. He was defense minister during the Six-Day War, and a founder of the Labor Party.

However, after the 1977 Knesset elections, he left Labor to join the first Likud government of Menachem Begin.

As Begin’s foreign minister, Dayan was instrumental in arranging Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem in 1977, and he played a major role in the process that led to a peace treaty with Egypt.

Among those presiding over Tuesday’s special Knesset session were President Ezer Weizman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Dayan family.

Netanyahu said Dayan looked for ways to reduce the conflicts between Israel and the Arabs. Dayan recognized Israel’s security situation and warned against negotiating from a weak position, the premier added.

Opposition leader Shimon Peres of the Labor Party said Dayan believed that it was forbidden to live by the sword and that there was no point in trying to discuss today how to win yesterday’s wars.

Dayan was also remembered by his daughter, Labor Knesset member Yael Dayan.

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