The April 1956 eulogy delivered by Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan at the funeral of Roi Rotberg, the security coordinator of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, expressed the spirit of the times more aptly than any other text or speech prepared at the time. It continues today to articulate succinctly Israel’s positions in its dispute with the Arabs.
Kimmerling summarized Dayan’s message this way: We are a state of immigrant-settlers, whose very existence in the region is not guaranteed or self-evident. The “Arabs,” an indiscriminate category, hate “us” (and justifiably so, from their point of view ). This situation is a necessity that cannot be changed; it is our “fate” and we have no control over it, and the only thing we can do is guarantee our “existence.” Such existence is protected exclusively by means of the fist and the sword. All other societal-wide goals are subsumed within this dominant objective of protecting our survival. We are forced to remain a mobilized, enlisted society. We must accept as a self-evident reality the sacrifice of human life (in addition to costs presumably paid in other spheres ), which we make in order to guarantee our continued existence.