Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth revealed on Thursday that Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan suggested using non-traditional weapons against Arab forces in the Sinai during the 1973 war.
This information, the newspaper reports, was mentioned in the memoir of former Israeli Minister of Trade and Industry Haïm Bar-Lev. The memoir was found in a cupboard that remained closed for years after his death. Today some of the details therein were published.
The documents show that Bar-Lev, who served as the army’s Chief of General Staff from 1968–71, was recalled by then Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1973 and appointed Chief of Staff for the Southern Front.
According to the documents, Meir recalled Bar-Lev during difficult times for former Defence Minister Moshe Dayan. “That time, fear and terror was clear on the face of Dayan,” Bar-Lev wrote in his memoir. “Dayan thought of using banned weapons,” he added.
On why Dayan was about to collapse, Bar-Lev explained how “the Prime Minister told me that the defence minister, who had just returned from the battlefield, informed her that he had underestimated the power of the Israeli forces, as well as the enemy forces.”
Bar-Lev further wrote that, “She told me that Dayan believed in the retreat of Israel’s forces that faced the Jordanian forces from one side, and those that faced the Egyptian forces, too.”
He also said that Meir informed him about Dayan suggesting the use of non-traditional weapons if needed. “Dayan told her: let’s die together with the Palestinians,” Bar-Lev said.
“The prime minister reflected an impression that she was shocked by Dayan’s situation more than by the situation on the ground,” he added.