Letter from Jerusalem, May 30, 2006
In a Letter from Jerusalem of May 5, 2006, Women in Green appealed to all our friends worldwide to show support for Hananel Dayan, who has been shoddily and unfairly treated by the Israeli Defense Forces, and it’s Chief of Staff Dan Halutz.
The following is a reminder of the circumstances surrounding the unjust treatment of Staff Sergeant Dayan:
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Every Independence Day, a ceremony is held at the President’s house at which outstanding soldiers are awarded by the President, Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.
One of the honored soldiers yesterday was St.-Sgt. Hananel Dayan, a tank driver from the Northern Command who lives in the Binyamin town of Psagot. When presented with his award, he refused to shake Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz’s outstretched hand. Dayan informed the IDF chief that he was unable to shake his hand, and when President Moshe Katzav, standing alongside him, asked why, he answered, “Because my family was expelled from Gush Katif.”
An uncomfortable scene ensued, with President Katzav scolding Dayan, saying his behavior was “unsuitable.” Dayan simply saluted the Chief of Staff and descended from the stage.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the head of the IDF Personnel Corps Brig.-Gen. Elazar Stern, a religious Jew, approached Dayan and began reprimanding him, demanding that he apologize to the Chief of Staff. Dayan stood his ground, telling Stern that when he looked at the Chief of Staff, he saw the bulldozers that destroyed his grandparents’ home in Gush Katif. He said he stood by his refusal to shake the army chief’s hand.
Dayan’s grandfather passed away shortly after Gush Katif was declared a closed zone to non-residents.
The award for excellence granted to Dayan read as follows: “Despite the severity of his personal loss, he continued to function and contribute to the unit. He is embraced by his fellow soldiers and is happy to perform any task or mission given to him and his friends from his company.”
Today’s shocking news is that Staff Sergeant Hananel Dayan who refused to shake the Chief of Staff’s hand over his role in the Gaza withdrawal, has been discharged from the Army and his $1500 cash prize revoked.
We feel that Staff Sergeant Dayan’s refusal to shake the hand of General Dan Halutz, because he was in charge of expelling Israeli citizens from their land, was courageous, ethical and moral.
WOMEN IN GREEN has decided to appeal to our supporters, to at least compensate this soldier from the monetary loss he sustained as a result of his courageous stand. All monies received will go directly to him.
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Dear Friends, the response was wonderful, and we’re still receiving contributions. A generous contribution was made by The American Center for Civil Justice.
The letter of this organization expressed exactly how Women in Green feel, and we are therefore reproducing their letter in its entirety.
Thank you on behalf of Staff Sergeant Dayan,
Ruth and Nadia Matar, Co-chairs of Women in Green
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SOLDIER OF CONSCIENCE AWARD
May 8, 2006
Sergeant Chananel Dayan:
DN Mizrach Benjamin
Dear Sgt. Chananel Dayan:
The American Center for Civil Justice hereby acknowledges your courageous stance as a Soldier of Conscience, and we hereby present you with its One Thousand Dollar (US$1,000) Soldier of Conscience Award. This award is given internationally to individuals of integrity who put themselves at risk for standing up and following their conscience.
Sgt. Dayan – you have set yourself apart by your integrity, and you will surely serve as a shining example to your peers, and as a worldwide inspiration to every individual of conscience. We commend you for having a conscience, and for having the courage to live by it. This award is a symbol of respect, appreciation and encouragement.
Please let us know if you would be available for some public speaking engagements throughout the United States; we would be most happy to make the arrangements.
Executive Vice President
Tel. 718-438-6086 Fax. 718-438-2822