I am looking for the details of a quote that goes something along the lines of "It is easy to look like a great general when you fight Arabs" by Moshe Dayan (or maybe Golda Meier). I believe the context was in reply to some comment about how he was such a great general.

  • Who said it?

  • When & where was it said?

  • What is the exact quote?

  • Where is the original source/citation?

I did a few Google searches but couldn't find the quote. Even if apocryphal, would appreciate the scoop on how it came to be.

Note: Although the quote may seem to indicate an anti-Arab sentiment, it is a quote; it represents the speaker's opinion, not the original poster's.

  • Why did someone negative one this? It's a serious question (albeit a minor one). At least more historical than the 1969 Life Magazine pretty girl question.
    – guest
    Dec 4, 2019 at 17:47
  • 11
    This website has a bad history of new users (in particular unregistered ones) trying to promote racist content by pretending to ask a question about it. You are a new user, the supposed quote is definitely racist, and this is a question asking about it, so it fits the profile.
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 4, 2019 at 18:00
  • 5
    So we have a quote with no exact wording, no secondary source, no associated person and no context. Hmmmmm
    – user31561
    Dec 4, 2019 at 19:48
  • 1
    Ugg...you put it on hold. I'm not anti-Arab. Have read Seven Pillars of Wisdom, taken a class on Islamic history, and have read several popular sympathetic books like Wind in the Sahara and Doomed Oasis.
    – guest
    Dec 4, 2019 at 20:19
  • 7
    I didn't VtC, but this might have gone over better if you already had some reputation on the site. The question looks fine to me now. Dec 4, 2019 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


Quoting this site that supposedly quotes the book:

סיפורו של משה דיין משרד הביטחון – ההוצאה לאור, 1997 [ספר נידח שגם אזל כי שארית עותקיו נשלחה לגריסה עם סגירת ההוצאה לאור, על פי החלטת שר הביטחון אהוד ברק]


"The story of Moshe Dayan", Ministry of Defense - Publishing, 1997. (Ehud Ben-Ezer: "Courage: The Story of Moshe Dayan") [A rare book that also ran out, the rest of its copies sent to shred when the publishing house closed, according to Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision]

(the grammatical quirks and language are in the original)

Moshe Dayan allegedly said:

"ככה זה כשנלחמים עם ערבים," משוכנע משה מאז הקרב על הדגניות: "אם נותנים דפיקה אחת בפח – הם כולם בורחים, כמו ציפורים."


"That's the way it is when fighting with Arabs," Moshe is convinced since the battle for the Deganiot, "If you put one knock on the tin bin - they all run away, like birds."

Note that this quote is from 1948 when Dayan was still a battalion commander, and is not necessarily racist but reflects the kind of fighting that took place against non organised mobs or poorly trained armies.

I couldn't find this quote anywhere else using different wording. The exact quote inquired in the question is even more elusive.


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