Election Poster, Moshe Dayan, Israeli Labour Party, 1969
This is a poster printed for the 1969 elections to the Knesset (the Israeli parliament). The poster was printed by the Labour Party, led at that time by Golda Meir. The poster portrays Moshe Dayan who was the defence minister candidate. In the photograph Dayan is shown with his signature eyepatch. The quote underneath his picture shows Dayan’s belief that the defence of the nation rests on the belief in the Jewish people’s right to live in their homeland.
In Israel, the name of each party is represented by letters that are printed on the ballot tickets chosen and then placed in the ballot box by the voters. The Labour Party’s letters are אמת—e-m-t or emet which is also the Hebrew word for truth. The slogan under Moshe Dayan’s quote is a play on words on these letters: “We can only rely on emet (true/Labour Party) leadership.
This election campaign took place a couple of years after the Six-Day War, in which Moshe Dayan was viewed as one of the heroes. Dayan was, therefore, presented in this poster as one of the true and dependable leaders.
Moshe Dayan was a military man turned politician. After a military career, in which he rose to the rank of chief of staff (the commander-in-chief of the Israeli Army), he continued to serve the Israeli people; this time in the Knesset and in the government. He joined the Labour Party and, in his role in government, served as minister of agriculture, minister of defence, and minister of foreign affairs. As defence minister, he was seen as responsible for both the success of the Six-Day War and the failures of the Yom Kippur War. Many blamed Dayan for the lack of preparedness for the attack by the Arab armies which took Israel by surprise on Yom Kippur causing a large number of casualties.
Years later, Dayan joined Menachem Begin’s Likud government, and as foreign minister he was involved in planning the Camp David Accords which ultimately led to the peace agreement with Egypt.
This photograph can be shown by Jewish Studies teachers when learning about Moshe Dayan as an example of a famous figure in Israeli history. Dayan’s story follows the story of Israel from early life in a kibbutz and moshav, through service in the Palmach, to the IDF and the wars of the early years of the State of Israel. They could also use this poster to discuss the question of Jewish and Israeli heroism. Was Dayan a hero? Can a simple private or sergeant serving in the army be just as heroic as the chief of staff? Can only soldiers be heros or can civilians also be heroic in their everyday life?
Teachers could also use this poster when discussing the language used in elections and political campaigns in Israel and other countries in Civics and Citizenship lessons or in the run-up to a general election.
Describe the poster.
What is the name of the man in the photograph? Who was he?
What was the purpose of the poster?
Moshe Dayan is portrayed on this poster from the 1969 Israeli Labour Party election campaign.
Why do you think that the party placed his photograph on the election campaign poster?
What message are they trying to convey?
What is most striking to you about Moshe Dayan’s appearance?
What associations do you think it had for people in 1969?
How does it make you feel? Is it different? If so, why?
The photograph was taken in 1969, two years after a major war had taken place in Israel.
Which war was it?
What was Moshe Dayan’s connection to this war?
The poster includes a quote by Moshe Dayan. Rewrite this quote in your own words. The quote on the poster suggests that the way to ensure Israel’s security is to always remember what the Israelis are fighting for: a Jewish homeland.
Do you feel this way?
Do you think that the Jewish people are entitled to their own land? Why?
Can you think of any other ways to ensure Israel’s security?
Read more about the Israeli Labour Party and create a new slogan for the party.
“We need a deep belief in our mission in Israel, to ensure a state for the Jewish people, and willingness for the actions that arise from this commitment. A willingness to fight and struggle whatever the difficulties.”
We can only rely on Emet [true/Labour Party] Leadership