Moshe Dayan, who for a generation symbolized to the world young Israel struggling for its survival, was buried today in a starkly simple ceremony on a hill overlooking the agricultural community where he grew up.
Thousands of ordinary Israelis joined with the entire government, the armed forces general staffs and foreign dignitaries under the hot Galilee sun to pay their final respects to Dayan, a soldier-hero who was one of the last giants of the Jewish state's birth and a shaper of its endeavors for more than three decades.
Dayan, who died Friday in a Tel Aviv hospital of a massive heart attack at the age of 66, had urged his family to ensure that there would be no eulogies and no salutes by rifle volleys at his graveside. And although he was accorded a state funeral, his wish was fulfilled.
After his flag-draped, almost primitive pine coffin was carried by an Army command vehicle from this pine-shaded farming community to a hillside overlooking the distant Carmel Mountains, Dayan was buried with almost studied haste.
The Israeli Army chief chaplain chanted the kaddish, and generals and an honor guard quickly filled the grave with buckets of the rocky soil, even as mourners continued to stream up the hill for a final homage to the always enigmatic, occassionally controversial national hero.
Floral wreaths were heaped on the grave by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israeli President Yitzhak Navon, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli and foreign mourners, and the ceremony was abruptly over.
As Dayan's daughter, Yael, a novelist, wept by the graveside, his wife, Rahel, took one pink carnation from the grave and walked away.
Earlier, scores of buses crowded around this cooperative community as Israelis from across the country filed by the bier in front of the local cultural center. Typically for Israel, mourners wearing shorts and sandals, their hands still dirty from working the surrounding cotton fields, mingled with Cabinet ministers, top military officials and foreign diplomats in the lines
Foreign representatives included U.S. Attorney General William French Smith; French Interior Minister Gaston Deferre; Butros Ghali, the Egyptian minister of state for foreign affairs; and Hamm Bruescher, the West German minister of state for foreign affairs.
Also representing the U.S. government were Sen. Roger W. Jepsen (R-Iowa), Sen. Edward Zorinsky (D-Neb.), Rep. Dick Cheny (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Marvin H. (Mickey) Edwards (R-Okla.).
Because Dayan grew up in the Galilee together with Arabs and was always able to maintain a rapport that transcended his fluency in Arabic, the procession by the bier included a number of Palestinians who remained in Israel after the 1948 war of independence.
One of them, Ahmed Kamel Kabia, from the nearby village of Kabia, said he came to pay his respects "because we used to play together when we were children. He was a good boy, and we all loved him very much. This is so long ago."
Although eulogies at the funeral were forbidden, tributes from Israeli leaders and from around the world poured in during the weekend.
Begin, who in October 1979 was forced to accept Dayan's resignation as foreign minister in a dispute over the future of negotiations on Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said: "He was a man without fear, and therefore he could serve as an example to others."
Navon, who served with Dayan under the late prime minister David Ben-Gurion, said, "Moshe Dayan will be remembered for his great contribution in imbuing the spirit of fighting bravery into the Israeli defense forces, and for his fruitful and original thinking in the field of foreign policy."
Dayan, among other posts, held the jobs of Army chief of staff, agriculture minister, defense minister and foreign minister.
The leader of the opposition Labor Party, Shimon Peres, with whom Dayan split in 1977 when he joined the Begin government, said, "He never copied anyone in his life, and he never can be copied."
The eulogies to Dayan tended to focus on two well-known aspects of his personality -- his originality and his complexity. Former defense minister Ezer Weizman, who served under Dayan in the armed forces and worked closely with him in the Camp David peace negotiation -- and who also was a brother-in-law by a previous marriage -- said of Dayan:
"He was a highly complex human being, extremely courageous in battle, hesitant in civilian life, who wrote poetry in his youth and could switch from laughter to anger in a second. An aura of power enveloped him."