Sunday, December 20, 2015

Moshe Dayan

HAARETZ: The Israeli Defense Minister Who Stole Antiquities. In 1971, Israeli archaeologists petitioned Moshe Dayan to give up his legally questionable hobby: Uncovering ancient artifacts and claiming them as his own. (Yael Gruenpeter).
In 2012, Dr. Asaf Matskin's book "Too Close to the Edge" was published, telling the story of political corruption since the creation of Israel. Amid the scandals detailed in the book was the story called "The Antiquities of Moshe Dayan." Dayan was chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and eventually became defense minister.

According to Matskin, some in Israeli society were rooted in the mentality that "everything is allowed" — at least everything that your name, reputation or position allowed you to get away with. That's how Dayan, who was a sworn lover of archaeology, used his position and authority to dig at any site of his choosing while illegally using equipment and manpower belonging to the IDF.

I noted the accusations against General Dayan back in 2006 and I am unaware of anyone who has tried to refute them or deny them since. The article by archaeologist Raz Kletter that presents evidence has moved to a new ULR. You can read it here. He has also discussed the issue in his 2006 book, Just Past? The Making of Israeli Archaeology (which I have not read). You can read a review of it at JSTOR here.