cover image Warrior Statesman: The Life of Moshe Dayan

Warrior Statesman: The Life of Moshe Dayan

Robert Slater / Author St. Martin's Press $27.95 (466p) ISBN 9

Dayan (1915-1981), ``the man with the eyepatch,'' was Israel's most visible symbol and a key figure during the first three decades of that country's existence. Shaper and leader of its formidable army, he directed three of its wars. He was chief of staff during the 1956 Sinai Campaign and minister of defense during the '67 Six-Day War, both great victories for Israel. Dayan's performance during the third conflict, the '73 Yom Kippur War, was less impressive: caught off guard by the Egyptian-Syrian attack, he reacted in a confused and shaken manner, shocking his colleagues with his defeatist attitude. Slater describes how Dayan salvaged his tarnished reputation as Israel's foreign minister during the Camp David ``peace process'' in the late 1970s which resulted in Israel's first treaty with an Arab state, namely Egypt. Particularly interesting is Slater's analysis of Dayan's creative diplomacy after the Six-Day War, a victory that gave him political authority to set Israel on a course of long-term occupation--a fulcrum of controversy in the region to this day. Based on interviews with Dayan's family, friends and political/military associates, this anecdote-rich biography captures the vital essence of this feisty, complex heroic figure. Slater is a Time correspondent in Jerusalem. Photos. (Sept.)