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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Soldier ousted from his IDF unit for not shaking hands

Some of you may have missed this story at the end of last week. It illustrates how 'politically correct' we have become in Israel.

Every year on Independence Day, outstanding soldiers are honored in a ceremony that takes place at the President's house here in Jerusalem. One of the soldiers so honored this year was First Sergeant Hananel Dayan Meged, a tank driver. Hananel grew up in Gush Katif and his family was expelled from there this summer along with all the rest of the Jews.

When Hananel was presented with his award, he refused to shake hands with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz. Hananel said he could not shake hands with "
someone who had been responsible for removing Jews from their homes."

Standing up for your principles isn't accepted in Israel today, unless of course you have the right left principles. The JPost notes that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose sons both refused to serve in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the army, "
was visibly angry that the young soldier had allowed politics to intrude on such a special event."

On Friday, Israel Radio announced that Hananel Meged had been thrown out of his unit, but had not as yet been stripped of his Outstanding Soldier commendation, which only the president is authorized to take away from him. According to President Katzav's office, no request had been received to this effect, and at this stage it is not on the agenda.

I happen to know someone else who was thrown out of his unit for refusing to participate in the 'evacuation' of Gush Katif. The army 'reassigned' him to vegitate in front of a computer for his remaining term of service. The boy is sitting in front of the computer learning Torah all day long. If Hananel needs a chavrutha (study partner), he can call me.

Update - 1:10 AM

Arutz Sheva has more on this story:
Katif.net reports that lawyers are reviewing Dayan's case and plan to appeal it. [Link in Hebrew. CiJ]

Friends and family of the soldier say they are unwilling to accept the army's harsh response to a soldier who respectfully saluted the Chief of Staff, but could not bring himself to give a friendly handshake to the man responsible for destroying his family's home in Gush Katif, rendering them homeless refugees.

Three generations of Dayan's family and relatives lived in Gush Katif and his grandfather passed away shortly after the region was declared closed to non-residents.

The community of evictees from Ganei Tal, where Dayan's uncle and cousins lived, sent a huge bouquet to Dayan's family, with letters of encouragement from residents.

Military prosecutor Hedva Shapira sharply attacked the army's decision, saying it does not jibe with either civilian or military law. The Yesha Council and Yesha Rabbis Council issued statements in support of the soldier.


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