Yael Dayan

YaelDayan-Featured-1BIOGRAPHY

Yael Dayan is an Israeli politician and author. She served as a member of the Knesset between 1992 and 2003, and from 2008 to 2013 was the chair of Tel Aviv City Council. Her service on the City Council ended with the 2013 election. Yael is the daughter of Moshe Dayan.

Dayan first made a name for herself as an author and newspaper columnist, writing columns for Yedioth Ahronoth, Ma’ariv, Al HaMishmar and Davar.She has published five novels as well as a memoir of the Six-Day War called Israel Journal: June 1967, and a biography of her father called My Father, His Daughter.

Dayan became a peace activist, joining the leadership of Peace Now, and was also involved in Bat Shalom, the International Center for Peace and the Council for Peace and Security, giving lectures around the world on the topics of peace and security. In Israel she has also campaigned for Human Rights, Women’s Rights, and LGBT rights. In 2002, the LGBT community  awarded her with “Community Friend Award” – an honorary award for her work to help  LGBT people in Israel.

In 1992, Dayan was elected to the Knesset on the Labor Party list and served as chairwoman of the Committee on the Status of Women. In the same year she conducted the first ever gay and lesbian convention in the Knesset, during which the then-IDF chief Ehud Barak signed a new law, forbidding the army from limiting gay and lesbian soldiers from certain roles. Dayan was instrumental in pushing forward Israel’s sexual harassment law in the 1990s.

In 1995 Dayan proposed a new bill, according to which old same-sex couples will have the same pension rights as straight couples. Though the bill was defeated, the Ministry of Interior changed its policy on same-sex couples and allowed gay and lesbian couples to have the same last name.

In 1998 Dayan managed to pass a correction to the slander law. The correction  adds a prohibition of human degradation due to gender or sexual orientation.

Re-elected in 1996 and 1999 (as a member of One Israel, an alliance of Labor, Meimad and Gesher), Dayan became chairwoman of the Committee on the Status of Women for a second time in 1999.

She lost her seat in the 2003 elections, and left Labor to join Meretz with Yossi Beilin. Until 2008 she served as Deputy Mayor and until 2013 she was responsible for social services. Mayor Huldai chose not to include Dayan on his list of candidates for the 2013 election, effectively ending her political career.