Yael Dayan, author, journalist activist, and the daughter of the late Israeli army general and defense minister, Moshe Dayan, is coming to Louisville.
Dayan who also served in the Knesset, will speak at The Temple during the Shabbat service on Friday, September 15, and will be part of the Oneg following services. The Temple and the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence are sponsoring her visit.
Dayan, 78, will be in the country to promote her latest book, Transitions, an autobiography whose liner notes were written by public figures no less than Amos Oz and the late Shimon Peres.
“She is a hero,” Rabbi David Ariel-Joel said. “Not only a military hero, she was a high officer in the army. She is a true Israeli hero and icon; she fought all her life for Israel to be the place it ought to be.
“She fought for LGBTQ rights before it was popular to do so,” Ariel-Joel continued. “She fought for women rights, for the freedom of religion and freedom from religion in Israel, including the freedom to go to the beach on Yom Kippur in a bikini.”
Born in 1939 in Nahalal, a co-operative village, in Israel, to Ruth and the late General Moshe Dayan, Yael Dayan quite literally grew up with her country.
She studied political science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and biology at the Open University in Tel Aviv.
Dayan served three terms as a Labor Party Member of Knesset, from 1992 to 2003. During that time, she chaired the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of women, which was founded by her during her first term, and the Sub-Committee for Gay and Lesbian Rights. Dayan was also a member of the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committees.
Throughout her political career, she has promoted equality and women’s rights, equal pay and the right to an abortion. She has initiated and completed revolutionary legislation protecting women’s rights, gay rights and minorities civil rights.
Her main extra-parliamentary political activity is active leadership of grassroots organizations such as Peace Now, calling for active dialogue with the Palestinians leading to a two-state solution.
Because of her activism, Dayan has received her share of threats over the years. In Hebron, a right-wing activist once tossed a boiling cup of tea at her.
Dayan has been awarded the Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Award (1991), and the Olof Palme Award for Peace (1998). She was named to the French Weekly, L’express’ “100 Women Who Make the World Move” (1995), and was honored by the State of the World Forum as one of the “Women Redefining Leadership” (1997).
She is the author of eight books (six novels) including New Face in the Mirror, Death Has Two Sons, Sinai Diary-67 and My Father-His Daughter (1985). She has worked as a journalist for 50 years, writing political commentary in both Israeli and Foreign press.
Dayan, who lives in Tel Aviv, was married to the late General (Reserves) Dov Sion and has two children and four grandchildren.
This won’t be her first visit to Louisville.
“We had the honor of hosting Yael Dayan at The Temple in the early 1990’s,” said Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport. “She has been a great hero of mine from my youth, a champion social justice and civil rights in the land of Israel.
“I remember reading her books, her vision for Israel as a free and democratic country,” Rapport added, “and promising myself I would have a daughter named Yael someday.”
Today, Rabbi Yael Rooks-Rapport, daughter Rapport and Rabbi Gaylia R. Rooks, is the assistant rabbi at Beit Simchat Torah in New York.