Independence Day embarrassment: Staff Sgt. Hananel Dayan of the Armored Corps refused to shake the hand of Chief of Staff Dan Halutz during a ceremony honoring 120 outstanding IDF soldiers held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
The soldier cited the fact that his family was evacuated from Gaza during last summer’s disengagement as the reason for his refusal to acknowledge the army chief’s gesture.
IDF officials said they view the incident with severity as it constitutes political protest; the army will consider taking measures against the soldier, they added.
Dayan’s mother said that ahead of the ceremony, her son had debated whether or not to attend, and added that the snub wasn't out of spite.
“He told the chief of staff that when he sees him he remembers the bulldozers that demolished his grandfather’s house in Gush Katif. It wasn’t an obnoxious act,” the mother said. “His emotions consumed him. There were a few officers that rebuked him for what he did, but he’s not sorry.”
Prior to the incident Halutz addressed the soldiers in attendance, saying, “at a time in which the Hamas terror government is establishing itself in the Palestinian Authority and amid Iran’s venomous statements, it is becoming clearer that we will face many operational challenges that will require all of our military expertise and mental strength.”
“Most of all we must uphold a strong, equipped and trained army,” he said.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was also on hand for the event.
Neta Sela contributed to the report