Ousted soldier gives Halutz ultimatum

Will petition High Court if he is not given an apology, reinstated to unit.

halutz looks tough 298.8 (photo credit: IDF [file])
halutz looks tough 298.8
(photo credit: IDF [file])
First Sergeant Hananel Dayan-Meged, a tank driver who was cited as an outstanding soldier, and who was expelled from his unit for refusing to shake hands with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz at the ceremony for outstanding soldiers at Beit Hanassi on Israel Independence Day, presented on Sunday an ultimatum to the Israel's highest ranking officer. Meged has requested that Halutz publicly announce, within three days, that he committed no offense and that he be reinstated to his unit. In a letter written to Halutz by Meged's attorney Adi Keidar, Meged will petition the High Court of Justice immediately following the three-day deadline if Halutz does not acquiesce to the demand. Meged, whose family was evacuated from Gush Katif in August, said that he would not shake hands with someone who had been responsible for removing Jews from their homes. President Moshe Katsav remonstrated Meged, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who witnessed the incident, was visibly angry that the young soldier had allowed politics to intrude on such a special event. There was speculation afterwards as to whether Dayan would be penalized. On Friday, Israel Radio announced that he 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. Katsav spokeswoman Hagit Cohen told The Jerusalem Post that no request had been received to this effect, and that at this stage it was not on the agenda.