Three days. That’s what Sergeant Hananel Dayan gave Chief of Staff Dan Halutz to apologize and reinstate him with his unit. If not, the miserable Hananel threatened to petition the High Court against Lt. Gen Halutz. The savvy Hananel is no sucker. He has proven in the past that he is not afraid commanding officers.
At the Independence Day ceremony honoring exemplary soldiers at the President’s House, the two faced each other. The unruly Dayan refused to shake hands with the Chief of Staff as a protest against last summer's pullout from Gush Katif.
Out in Judea and Samaria, of course, they were thrilled at what this imbecile Hananel did. They said the chief of staff and the army got what they deserved. In fact, what we all got what we deserved.
But the chief of staff declined – at the event and afterwards – to respond, so the sergeant’s brigade took it up and there, for some reason, his unit commanders were not impressed by Hananel the horrible and kicked him out of the army. They said Hananel brought dishonor to the IDF uniform, and that he had been invited to the ceremony not as a representative of the political right-wing, but of the grease smattered army base of the 188th Armored Corps Brigade, called the Barak, or lightning, brigade.
Outstanding soldiers are not selected by the president or by a special committee but by the unit itself. They get a phone call one month before and are told, “Your group has one slot in the exemplary soldier award ceremony. Pick someone you want to represent the unit.” So the division commander goes to the battalion commander who communicates the request to the company captain who picks Hananel as model.
He was representing the 188th Armored Corps Brigade. This jerk Hananel seems to need a reminder about in whose name he stood there on the presidential lawn.
The Barak brigade began as the "Carmeli" Division in the War of Independence. The group sustained heavy losses in battles stretching from Manara in the north to the Western Galilee.
In the Six Day War, the division took part in a blood soaked military campaign which became known as the Battle of Dotan, a move that ended with the bombing of the Jordan River bridges. Yet, the Brigade’s most decorated - and devastating – days were yet to come.
On Yom Kippur 1973, Carmieli was the only armored presence positioned on the Golan Heights. Its soldiers were forced to face a Syrian force ten times its size. Within 24 hours, only 15 tanks remained, and commander Yitzhak Ben Shaham was killed on the second day of fighting, as were his deputy and chief of operations. The forces who survived the onslaught continued to fight against the hundreds of Syrian tanks.
The most famous of the fighting was led by three tanks that stopped the Syrians in their tracks at the Nafach junction. Two of the tanks sustained hits, but the third, commanded by Tvika Greengold, held out and continued to fight alone for many hours. This episode is remembered in IDF lore as “Tzvika’s Force," and Greengold was awarded the army's highest medal of honor for his effot.
I spoke with Tzvika Greengold the other day about Hananel the nutty. He is not a young man, but he still sounds as if the grit and dust from his tank are lodged in his throat.
“The military is built on honor,” he told me, “and this guy doesn’t have it. He ambushed the army. It would have been one thing if he would have said something before. Pulling off something like that is neither exemplary nor honorable. He cannot be trusted and has no place in our brigade. He must be sent packing,” he said.
Quick to turn
At some stage it might have been possible to understand Hananel the muddled. He said his grandfather, a resident of Gush Katif, died of a broken heart following disengagement. But in fact, General Eleazar Stern, the head of IDF personnel, learned that Dayan's grandfather had suffered from terminal cancer, and that the disease worsened two years before he ever heard the word "disengagement."
Iif I thought Hananel the irreverent was just an isolated case, or just a nervous guy the good Lord failed to bless with an excess of common sense, maybe I wouldn’t be writing about it. But there are more and more Hananels cropping up. Not those who lost homes in the Gaza Strip. Theirs is a true human and Zionist tragedy, and the protracted handling of their situation doesn’t place us in the most favorable light.
I am referring to the folks who boycott Independence Day when the government doesn’t do what they want. And the ones who refuse compulsory army service, and no longer recite the celebratory Hallel prayer in honor of this country and the guys who threw two lit Molotov cocktails at soldiers and border police in Hebron and the kids who want to establish their independent State of Judah.
Seems we have been living at the grace of’ the "Hananels" of this country for a long time. Their infamous "love" for the Land of Israel extends no further than the part of the country that marches to their diktats. When it doesn't, they are quick to sever relations, and refuse to shake our hands.
I admit, it would be a bit insulting even if we bought into the theory that they are the country's "best and brightest," but they are not. There are no Tzvika Greengolds amongst them. There are little more than a bunch of spoiled brats, throwing tantrums hen they don’t get the toys they want.
Many of us opposed the war in Lebanon, but we continued to serve. We opposed the Jewish settlements but we continued to pay for them. Nobody really wants to do reserve duty at the checkpoints.
Nevertheless, once a year we stand like idiots on our balconies in order to unfurl the Israeli flag. And maybe God doesn’t speak through us because of poor reception, but not a day goes by that we don’t pray for the welfare of this country and those who live here. Including Hananel the shameful.