Written by 15:27 World

Yael Dayan, Israeli Writer, Politician and Daughter of War Hero, Dies at 85

Yael Dayan, a celebrated Israeli writer who, after the death of her father, the war hero and statesman Moshe Dayan, entered politics and became a proponent of women’s rights, L.G.B.T.Q. issues and a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict, died on May 18 at her home in Tel Aviv. She was 85.

Her daughter, Racheli Sion-Sarid, said the cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Ms. Dayan was the last surviving child of Mr. Dayan, who served as Israel’s defense minister during the Six-Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. With his distinctive black eyepatch — he had lost his left eye in combat fighting with the British in World War II — he was the unmistakable patriarch of a family dynasty that many in Israel have compared to the Kennedys.

Mr. Dayan’s wife, Ruth, was the founder of the fashion house Maskit. Their son Assi was an actor and filmmaker. Another son, Ehud, was a sculptor.

Ms. Dayan shot to literary stardom at age 20 with “New Face in the Mirror” (1959), an autobiographical novel written in English about a young female soldier whose father is a military commander.

“One day my father came to the camp,” she wrote. “He said he was passing and had decided to drop in. He would never have admitted that he had come to see me. His arrival was, of course, an event — an occasion for smart and often unnecessary salutes, for alert and curious eyes. Will he kiss her when he leaves?”

The novelist Anzia Yezierska, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called “New Face in the Mirror” “an extraordinary record of the inner life of a rebellious adolescent in search of self-realization.” She added, “There is an honesty and a compulsive intensity in the telling of her story that haunts us, long after finishing the book.”

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Last modified: 2 June 2024
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