Dayan, Yael (1939–)

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DAYAN, YAEL (1939–)

Israeli writer and activist. Born in 1939 at Nahalal, in British Mandatory Palestine, Yael Dayan is the daughter of the late General Moshe Dayan. In 1959, barely twenty years old, she published her first novel, New Face in the Mirror. Between 1965 and 1980, while continuing to write, she was a journalist at Yediot Aharonot. At the time of the Arab-Israel War of 1967, she became a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Force (IDF). In 1984, as a member of the Israel Labor Party, she ran for the first time in the Knesset elections. In 1985 she published a book about her father.

In June 1992, Yael Dayan won a seat in the Knesset, the first of her three terms. She belonged to the reformist wing of the Labor Party. As a feminist and a defender of the rights of sexual minorities, she missed no chance at lambasting the champions of religious orthodoxy in the Knesset. A member of the Peace Now movement, Dayan favored peace with the Palestinians and the creation of a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation, and she was one of the Knesset members who agitated for the abrogation of the law banning all contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In August 1992, on a visit to The Hague, Netherlands, she met with Nabil Shaʿath, one of Yasir Arafat's political advisors. She acknowledged the contact a few days later. On 29 January 1993, ten days after the abrogation of the law forbidding all contact with the PLO, she went to Tunis, where she was welcomed by Arafat, provoking the ire of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. After returning to Jerusalem, she spoke publicly of her hope that top Israeli leaders would follow in her footsteps, so as to "understand, learn and listen." Since then Dayan has devoted a major part of her time to activities in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace. In the 2003 elections, she was not included on the Labor Party list; she joined the Meretz Party list of candidates but was not reelected.

SEE ALSO Dayan, Moshe;Peace Now.