Chief of staff in quest of a war: Moshe Dayan leads Israel into war

Motti Golani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


That Dayan was a central figure in Israel's formative years during the 1950s is beyond dispute. His star blazed particularly bright in the Sinai War of October-November 1956. However, the roots of Dayan's extraordinary influence are to found in the period leading up to the Sinai War rather than in the war itself. It is impossible to understand the Sinai War, particularly its Israeli aspect, without understanding the central role played by the army and its chief in the preparations and in lobbying for its execution. For the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the idea of an Israeli-initiated war was neither a theoretical or a practical surprise. The IDF was prepared to launch an offensive against Egypt, and that fact was of major importance far beyond the Israeli government's decision to launch a war against Egypt. It was Dayan who ensured full coordination between progress in the military preparations and progress in the diplomatic process (the negotiations with France and Britain), as he himself was at the center of events in both spheres of activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-70
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes


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