Tag Archives: Sinai War

Jew of the Week: Moshe Dayan

The Military Genius Who Made Warand Peace 

Moshe Dayan (1915-1981) was born on the first kibbutz, Degania Alef, to Jewish-Ukrainian parents. He was named after Moshe Barsky, a kibbutznik from Degania who was murdered in an Arab attack. At just 14 years of age, Dayan joined the Haganah defense force. In 1936, he began training with a British military unit headed by his hero, Major General Wingate. During World War II, Dayan was part of a unit that ran covert operations in Nazi-allied Vichy French territory and participated in the Allied invasion of Syria and Lebanon. In one battle, a sniper bullet missed his head, but the resulting shrapnel destroyed his left eye. His eye muscles were ruined, too, so he could not be fitted with a glass eye, and henceforth wore his characteristic black patch. During Israel’s Independence War, Dayan commanded the Jordan Valley units, and was able to stop the Syrian advance. He also led the takeover of towns like Ramle and Lod, and was part of the negotiating team that brought the war to an end. In 1949, Dayan took charge of the Southern Command and worked to secure Israel’s borders. This meant a policy of strong retaliation for Arab attacks, at times brutal. While it brought him a lot of condemnation, Dayan insisted that it was “the only method that proved effective”. In 1953, Ben-Gurion appointed Dayan the new Chief of Staff, and the latter went on to implement Ben-Gurion’s “three-year defence programme” to reorganize the IDF. Among his accomplishments was founding a military academy for high-ranking officers and establishing new intelligence units. In 1955, Dayan and Shimon Peres signed a series of deals with France to strengthen the IDF, leading to the purchase of over 100 jets, 260 tanks, and 300 trucks. In 1956, Dayan led Israel’s operation in the Sinai (jointly with France and England) and proved his military genius. The French later awarded Dayan with a Legion of Honour. After retiring from the IDF, Dayan joined Ben-Gurion’s government as Minister of Agriculture. During the Six-Day War, he took the military reins again as defense minister and oversaw the liberation of Jerusalem. He remained defense minister until the Yom Kippur War, after which he resigned due to what is generally considered to be his greatest failure. He subsequently fell into a deep depression. In 1977, Dayan returned to government as foreign minister and, no longer the hawk he once was, played a key role in the peace treaty with Egypt. Dayan spoke Arabic fluently, and lamented that more Israelis didn’t. He wrote four books and was also an amateur archaeologist, amassing a large collection of antiques which are now at the Israel Museum. In 1981, he founded a new political party, Telem, but passed away shortly after from a heart attack and complications of cancer. The New York Times eulogized him as “a general who made war, a diplomat who made peace.”

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Words of the Week

We cannot save each water pipe from explosion or each tree from being uprooted. We cannot prevent the murder of workers in orange groves or of families in their beds. But we can put a very high price on their blood, a price so high that it will no longer be worthwhile for the Arabs, the Arab armies, for the Arab states to pay it.
– Moshe Dayan

 

Jew of the Week: Shimon Erem

Shimon Erem, an Israeli Hero

Shimon Kazarnofsky (1922-2012) was born in Lithuania. His parents immigrated to Israel in 1925 when he was just three years old. At 15, he joined the Jewish Underground and fought valiantly to establish the State of Israel. With the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the British Army’s Jewish Brigade and would receive four medals for his bravery in fighting the Nazis. Stationed in Italy at the end of the war, he stayed in Europe to run underground operations: hunting escaped Nazis and smuggling Jewish refugees to Israel. At the onset of the Independence War, Kazarnofsky (now going by his new Hebraized last name, Erem) returned to Israel and organized the first Officer’s School of the Israeli Army. He battled (and was wounded) on both the Jordanian and Egyptian fronts. In 1956 he commandeered the Sinai War, then served in 1967 as commander of special forces in the Six-Day War. Despite moving to California in 1970 (where his wife is from), he immediately returned to Israel in 1973 to fight in the Yom Kippur War. Erem finally retired from the military with the rank of Brigadier General, and returned to the United States where he worked tirelessly to raise support for Israel. He once said, “Every morning when I get up, I ask myself: What can I do to help Israel today?” Sadly, Erem passed away last Sunday.

Words of the Week

… I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations… They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more, and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.

President John Adams, in a letter to F.A. Van Der Kemp, 16 February 1809

Jew of the Week: Haim Saban

Haim Saban & the Power Rangers

Haim Saban – entertaining kids since 1975

Haim Saban (b. 1944) was born in Egypt. His family fled to Israel along with much of the Egyptian-Jewish community due to the 1956 Sinai War. After serving in the Israeli army, Saban formed a band called Ha’Arayot (the Lions), which gained fame across Europe. Building on this success, he started a record company in France in 1975, which went on to become the most successful of its time, selling over 18 million records. Saban then turned his attention to the TV industry and is noted for introducing Japanese Anime to European audiences. In 1988, Haim formed Saban Entertainment, producing such classics as the original X-Men TV series, and brought Dragon Ball Z and Digimon to the Western world. Perhaps most notably, Saban created the Power Rangers. In 2001, he sold much of his media empire to Disney, which remains the largest cash transaction by an individual in Hollywood history. He is worth over $3 billion and currently runs an investment group called Saban Capital. BusinessWeek lists him as one of the 50 greatest philanthropists in the world.

Words of the Week

Don’t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big God is.
– Bumper Sticker

From the Torah

“You shall surely open your hand…”Deuteronomy 15:8.
It is one of the 613 commandments to give charity to the needy. Even a poor person must give charity to one needier than they.