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April 27, 1973 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-04-27

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The Dayans-Courage Intermingled With Idealism

Ruth, the Woman Who Created Notable
Israeli Craftsmen's Projects Through Maskit

understanding of pioneering
and state-building in Israel.
Many anecdotes are worth
recording. Barbara Tuchman,
one of the most eminent
women writers of our time,
likes the story about Ezer
Weizman, who reprimanded
a prominent person for hav-
ing refused a ride to Ruth
while she was in the Negev,
while offering a seat to an-
other person who was on the
road pleading for help in
reaching Tel Aviv.
This reviewer is more in-
trigued with this account:
"Russian-style blouses were
still popular in Israel 20
years ago. The Russians had
voted for us in the UN and
the political climate was dif-
ferent then; so many of the
early pioneers, like my par-
ents, and Moshe's were at-
tached to Rusian ways. This
attachment expressed itself in
embroidery, and it was sug-
gested that we might take
the simple Russian-style cot-
ton blouses produced by Ata,
our biggest clothing factory,
to the immigrant villages and
ask the women to decorate
them. Julia Keiner, of the
Bezalel Art School in Jeru-
salem, suggested that the
simple kind of embroidery
in which threads are pulled
from the fabric and colored
threads are then worked in-
to the empty spaces be used
instead of the difficult and
time - consuming traditional
raised in Nahalal as well as
"Our first course, given at
his courage as a member of
Ha-Halutsot (Pioneer
Hagana that required defen-
sive skills and the subsequent Women) in Jerusalem, was
emergence of his military taught by a bright student
from the Bezalel School's
weaving and embroidery de-
Then there is her personal partment. Our 30 students
life, her organizational ability came from 20 different vil-
which resulted in the forma- lages re-presenting 17 coun-
tion of one of Israel's most tries, from Persia, Tripoli
creative efforts—the Maskit and Algeria to Romania,
company which employs Yugoslavia and Poland. This
skilled craftsmen and experts made for considerable prob-
in handicrafts and whose lems in language and just
present multi-million dollar getting along together for 10
project not only provides Is- days.
rael-made products for the
"My difficulty was money;
Diaspora as well as Israel
but created jobs for scores once again Levi Eshkol was
upon scores of immigrants. tremendously understanding
and contributed 300 pounds
If her story were to be from his budget. This, I am
limited to Maskit, Ruth Da- afraid, caused a quarrel with
yan would at once assume a Golda Meir, then Minister of
major role as a great organ- Labor. I asked her to speak
izer, as a person with vision at our `graduation'; I wanted
of a vast undertaking for her a nice tea and a pleasant at-
country. There are many de- mosphere and thought an ad-
tails in this work relating to dress from Mrs. Meir, our
her search for and acquisi- woman cabinet m e m b e r,
tion of added outlets and new would make a fine conclusion
skills for her Maskit work for these immigrant women.
shops and stores.
"But Golda Meir did not
It is not an easy life. There see it that way when I ap-
were good years with Moshe, proached her. 'If Eshkol
but there were many differ- doesn't give me the money I
ences of opinion. One as- need to build roads, I'm cer-
sumes that Ruth was very tainly not going to help on
tolerant an many occasions. this,' she said in her force-
In her story, however, there ful
way, and I naturally burst
was the uninterrupted devo-
into tears.
tion and her cooperation with
"Money also brought an
him—and on his part, to the
very end, there was his offer adventure with a thief, and a
to be helpful to her in her terrible faux pas on my part.
Maskit projects.
At the end of the course I
The story of Ruth Dayan, went to the bus station to
provides full accounts about buy tickets for each of the
both her own, the Schwarz, women returning to their
family and Moshe's, and it villages. Suddenly I felt a
gives the reader a view of hand in my purse—and my
other members of both fam- wallet with 200 pounds was
ilies, including her brother- gone. But I caught sight of
hi-law, Ezer Weizman (he the thief as he ran toward
married her sister, Reumah). a four-story building.
" 'Thief! Thief! Stop him!'
There are incidents in the
lives of all related characters I shouted.
" 'What does he look like?'
that add immeasurably to an

"And Perhaps . . . " does
not sound like an appropriate
title for an unusual auto-
biography. But it does not
detract from a notable book.
It is "The Story of Ruth
Dayan," and the eminent
wife until recently of Israel's
Defense Minister Moshe
Dayan, together with an able
woman journalist, Helga Dud-
man, traces a life filled with
action and linked not only to
that of one of the world's
rrnost interesting personalities
but to Israel as much.
It is a work of unusual inti-
macy. Published by Har-
court Brace Jovanovich, it is
filled with action, and its spe-
cial interest lies in the de-
tailed account of her hus-
band's many interests with
-an emphasis both on his love
of the farm on which he was

asked the people milling
"And then I said something
I knew immediately was ter-
rible, because I am so against
this kind of national iden-
tification. 'Moroccan,' I said,
because he had a dark com-
plexion and black hair.
" 'Oh, he does, does he?'
said another man with a dark
complexion and black hair.
`Aren't you ashamed to talk
like that? I'm Moroccan my-
self, but I'll get your thief.'
And he started to climb to
the roof of the building.
Meanwhile, people in the
crowd were heading for a
nearby empty lot, on the
theory that the thief had es-
caped and perhaps rid him-
self of the wallet too.
"Soon two men came down
from the roof: the Moroccan,
holding my thief—who turn-
ed out to be of Kurdish or-
igin like Simha. 'He's all
yours, lady,' said the man
who caught him, 'but I'm
not helping you any more.'
And off he went, leaving me
to hold the man till the po-
lice came, which I did by
keeping my foot firmly on
his. Through all this I did
not say I was the wife of the
Brigade Commander of Jeru-
salem. At the police station
my wallet with all the money
was found in his pocket, and
the man claimed it was his.
In the wallet was a photo-
graph of Moshe.

" 'And who is this?' asked
the policeman when he came
to the photo.

" 'That's my brother,' said
the thief."

Sharing in significance
Ruth Dayan's role as a crea-
tor of the new field of handi-
craft activities through Mas-
kit is her leadership in the
Brit Shem movement to es-
tablish friendships between
Jews and Arabs. Would that
Arabs more than Jews could
read her life story! There are
scores of incidents there of
her own and her husband's
aims to establish Arab-Jewish
friendships and their contri-
butions to that movement.
The Dayans emerge as dedi-
cated pleaders for justice and
peace, and in the Arab friend-
ship •movement Ruth is a
leader of many qualities.
The divorce did not leave
an iota of ill feeling, with
Ruth asserting that she has
divorced a husband, not a
legend. Moshe remains the
legend — the hero of many
qualities despite the differ-
ences, and the agonies that
undoubtedly were caused by
amours, by the rumors of his
many affairs.
There was, of course, a
traditional ceremony of
Moshe throwing into Ruth's
lap the get — the bill of di-
vorcement — in the presence
of the rabbinical spokesmen.
It was a ceremony that left
her with a bad taste.
There are few other bitter
notes in a story of an active
life that could have been
affected by venom. There is
good will on every page—be-
cause the character of the
heroine dominates with an
aim to emphasize loyalties
rather than discord. That's
what makes "And Per-
haps . . The Story of Ruth
Dayan" such an impressive
book. —P.S.

Moshe, Israel's Military Genius Whose Name
Inspires Courage and Who Befriends Arabs

Shabtal Teveth pays great
honor to a friend and in the
process he displays hero wor-
ship in his biography of Isra-
el's minister of defense. In his
expression of admiration for
the subject of his important
sketch of the life of Moshe
Dayan he is, of course, not
alone. His Israeli countrymen
share his confidence in the
hero of many battles.
While admiring the famous
personality in "Moshe Day-
an; The Soldier," in a trans-
lation from the Hebrew by
Leah and David Zinder, Tev-
eth, who is a prominent Isra-
eli correspondent and author
of several other important
books, also emphasizes Day-
an's many characteristics,
habits and eccentricities.
Dayan is the lone wolf, the
insubordinate who insisted on


pursuing his own ways of
conducting military affairs.
He is the distinguished dig-
ger for antiquities with a
passion for archeology. Pri-
marily, he is the military gen-
ius who has inspired his peo-
ple to such confidence that
when he appears on the scene
to lead in Israel's defense,
whatever may have existed
of fear vanishes.
Teveth's story of Dayan's
life goes into the minutest
details, especially when the
biographer is concerned with
the military aspects of his
subject. The biographer de-
clares, after reviewing the
many aspects of Dayan's
career after the Six-Day War
and his assumption of the
role of - minister of defense,
that he had in effect "become
a sort of Minister of Survi-
val." Teveth explains:
His self-confidence and
belief in the future and his
spiritual strength to with-
stand the difficult, complex
struggle had to serve an en-
tire country. The task that
circumstances had forced un-
on him was not at all the one
he had prepared himself for.
He had neither the prophetic
vision with which Ben Gurion
had sustained the nation in
the forties, nor the religious
faith upon which the Jews of
the Diaspora had drawn
throughout the conturies of
exile. In fact, his personality
was restricted by his efforts
not to overreach his own nar-
row area of personal respon-
sibility. Ben Gurion called
upon the nation to be a model
of justice and truth and to
live for the realization of a
great mission—to be a light
unto the nations. Dayan was
suspicious of rhetoric and
scrupulously avoided it. He
preferred talking in concrete
terms; not of the great truth
with which the nation had to
arm itself but of the types of
planes and missiles it needed
to survive.

The contrast between Day- ally. He certainly retained his
an's nature and his task pro- own views on military mat-
duced a change in him. At ters and pursued his own
first his nature held sway goals strictly independently.
and he shied away from col- With Golda Meir and Pinhas
lective responsibility. As he Sapir and David Ben-Gurion
had done many times in the he differed often, and Ben-
past, he tried to breed cour- Gurion, who often com-
age through personal exam- mended him, equally as
ple, not by vision and pro- much opposed him. But this
phecy. Although his status no friendship remained in the
longer demanded it, and phys- main and Dayan joined B-G's
cally he was no longer equal party when the split occurred
to it, he visited the front lines in B-G'S desire to oust Levi
frequently reaching the most Eshkol from the premiership.
remote and dangerous out-
To list all of Dayan's assoc-
posts. On one occasion he iates in the story of his and
even crawled to an observa- Israel's life would be like
tion post, taking pleasure in recording the cast of charac-
the realization that he could ters in Israel's struggles _as
still do so like any other well as triumphs. Mar 'vti-
soldier. The old stories re- man weaknesses woul, .us
curred: A brigade command- be exposed in a review of
er in the front line tried to the Teveth biography. But
forbid him to climb up an Dayan's -personal habits are
embankment that was habitu- worth recording. For exam-
al target of Egyptian artil- ple, we are told that "from
lery, saying, 'We have a lot the beginning of his term of
of soldiers, but only one min- office," when he was chief
ister of defense.' Dayan re- of military operations, 1952-
plied: 'You'll be surprised 53, "it was clear that Dayan
to learn the number of candi- did not understand the func-
dates waiting for the open- tions of orderly staff work
and had no inclination what-
It is necessary to have soever for administrative
these facts in order to appre- matters." Then there is a
ciate the Dayan of the early description of his personal
'70s and the post-Six-Day appearance:
War in relation to his earlier
"His style of dress made
roles. He was an organizer it quite evident that etiquette
of "Habibi," the acronym for and regulations were of little
"The Society of Jewish Ruf- concern to him. Though he
fians in Palestine," and was was particular about his per-
an active member in the sonal cleanliness and in the
group in Nahalal in the late summer often showered sev-
1920s. He was known for his eral times a day, he did not
mischief as a youngster, and find it necessary to wear
his tricks did not make for polished shoes or pressed
friendships. But he was al- uniforms. Neora (his secre-
ways admired — whether it tary the red-haired Neora
is for blunt talk in expressing Matalon) described him as
his views, his fearlessness, `a terrible shlumper' (Yid-
or his skill in writing a good dish for sloppy dresser). He
was capable of arriving at
Mostly it is his lack of fear, a passing-out parade of offi-
and coupled with it was a cers after sleeping in the
basic principle for which his back -seat of his car. He
country may owe him the would walk along the parade
major debt: the fri iship ground with pants bagging at
he created with Arab, some- his knees and socks falling
thing that left its -nark about his ankles. His staff
through the years and was decided to force him to alter
felt after the last war, when his appearance by keeping
he was able to deal with the sets of freshly pressed uni-
Arab question more efficient- forms and dress properly for
ly than any other Israeli.
parades, public appearances
This is •a point emphasized or meetings."
also in Ruth Dayan's auto-
In the history of Arab-
•iography. It -was an ideal Jewish relations, the Dayan
shared by both.
approach will be recorded as
In a sense, Moshe's was a the most positive, as a basis
disturbed childhood. It is no for possible rapprochement
wonder that from his earliest because he befriended many
involvements he was insubor Arabs, was sympathetic to
dinate and labored indepen- their demands, did not mis-
dently to confront problems. treat them, understood that
Basically principled, he they had a case and acted
was firm, and when con- on the basis of proper nego-
fronted with dangers he was tiations for an impossible
able to lead himself and yet desirable accord.
those with him out of trouble.
Then there is his p.sion
The loss of his left eye was a for archeological ret
tragic accident during his for digging, and twk- he
service with the British army nearly lost his life.
in Syria, after he had been
Teveth's story has another
released from Acre prison
where he served two years of merit: the incidents he re-
a 10-year term for possessing corded relating to the Lavon
arms as a member of Ha- Affair. He tells more about
the machinations and polit-
The many incidents cov- ical controversies, the anger
ered in Teveth's book pro- of Ben-Gurion and the Eshkol
vide details in the life of the opposition, than has been
in any other Israeli
Yishuv — the Jewish settle- recorded
ment in Palestine—and the history.
early history of the state of
Teveth's "Moshe Dayan"
is an historic work — about
Inevitably, the oustanding one of Israel's greatest fig-
names in Israel's 25-year-old ures and about Israel's most
history are linked with Day- important occurrences in the
an's. With some he was on last 50 years. —P.S.
intimately friendly terms,
with others -he either quar- THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
reled or differed ideologic- 52—Friday, April 27, 1973

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