IDF 'Handshake Objector' Gets His Scholarship

A 3rd victory for the soldier who refused to shake the IDF Chief of Staff's hand after the Disengagement: he will get his Excellent Soldier prize.

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Gil Ronen, | updated: 15:35

Hananel Dayan
Hananel Dayan
Israel news photo

Chananel Dayan, the young man who rattled Israel's liberal establishment in 2006 when he refused to shake hands with then-Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, has won a third court victory in the case. This time, it was against the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers (AWIS), which will have to pay Dayan the $1,000 study scholarship he received as an Excellent Soldier. 

Dayan was a sergeant in the IDF in early 2006 when he was named an Excellent Soldier and invited to the President's Residence to receive an AWIS scholarship. When he was called up to the stage to receive his honors, he saluted Halutz but told him that he cannot shake hands with him, because his family had been expelled from Gush Katif in the Disengagement.

This act of conscientious objection caused the liberal media to team up with officers in the IDF to attack Dayan ruthlessly. The most vicious attack was mounted by columnist Yair Lapid (now an anchorman for Channel 2 TV and a possible political candidate), who used information he received from then-Head of Personnel Branch in the IDF, Maj.-Gen Elazar Stern, to try and show that Dayan lied about his family's expulsion from Gush Katif. 

Dayan took the matter to the courts, and won. A court found that Lapid had libelled Dayan, and ordered him to pay Dayan 12,000 shekels; the journalist may yet wind up paying more if Dayan's appeal of that verdict is successful. When it turned out that Lapid had received information from Stern, Dayan sued Stern as well. Stern's lawyers reached a compromise deal with Dayan, and the IDF wound up paying Dayan about 50,000 shekels in Stern's name. 

The current case began when Dayan initially received a voucher for the study diploma from AWIS. He paid for his studies in the Hesder Yeshiva of Arad and submitted the receipt to AWIS, as he was told to do. However, he was then informed that the IDF was refusing to pay for his scholarship.

He took this matter to court as well and has now succeeded in this third case. The Small Claims Court in Jerusalem ruled that the IDF must pay the scholarship and that his behavior on the stage at the President's Residence had nothing to do with the matter.