Moshe Dayan, the statesman, soldier and symbol of the young generation of Israel fighting for its survival, was buried today in the village cemetery overlooking Nahalal, his home town which he had chosen as his last resting place.
The funeral was an official State service, conducted by the army burial unit. But in keeping with Dayan’s wish, made known to his wife Rachel shortly before his death Friday, there were no speeches and no volleys fired in his honor at his graveside.
It was a simple ceremony, attended by thousands of friends, former comrades-in-arms and colleagues, fellow Knesset members, guests from abroad, official representatives of foreign governments, and ordinary Israelis who admired him.
Dayan died Friday evening, at the age of 66. He had been admitted to the intensive care unit of the cardiac department of Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv Thursday night, suffering from chest pains. Doctors reported his condition to be “stable” at noon Friday, but his wife, and daughter Yael were summoned to his bedside in the late afternoon.
Dayan had undergone a routine check up last month, the latest in the series of tests carried out since he underwent surgery for cancer three years ago. He was found to be in satisfactory condition.
After a brief religious service at the hospital, Dayan’s body was flown by army helicopter to Nahalal, the Emek village his parents had helped to found and which had been his home from the age of six. Dayan was born in Kibbutz Degania, the first kibbutz to be established in 1909. His family moved to Nahalal in 1921.
THOUSANDS OF MOURNERS
His body lay in state in the Nahalal village hall where thousands of mourners filed past the coffin. They were led by Premier Menachem Begin, President Yitzhak Navon, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Butros Ghalli who flew in from Cairo. There were many other official guests from abroad, including an official delegation from the United States.
Six army generals served as pall bearers. Dayan’s coffin was carried in an army tender to the hilltop cemetery overlooking Nahalal, the Emek and ancient Biblical sites nearby.
Dayan had said, since he underwent surgery for cancer, that he had recurring dreams involving this cemetery. It was not an unpleasant dream, he said. In recent months, with thoughts of death apparently ever more present in his mind, he repeatedly described how he appeared in his dream to be struggling upwards along a path known to him, to a mountaintop equally known and welcome. And then he emerged in the Nahalal cemetery “where I shall lie for my eternal rest, near by family and friends, among the hills I have always loved.”
It was here that he was laid to rest today, near the graves of his grandparents and parents, early residents of Degania and founders of Nahalal, and his brother, killed in the War of Independence, and a sister who died some years ago.
The vast crowd of mourners, ranging from officials to soldiers and ordinary Emek farmers, stood silently as the fresh grave was filled in and then covered with hundreds of wreaths and bunches of bright flowers from the President, the Knesset, the Cabinet, the army and police force, army generals, foreign governments and their representatives. Many of the floral tributes were from Israelis in all walks of life who had regarded Dayan as a symbol of modern Israel.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.