Healing Trips For Our Heroes

A Tour of

While American 18+ year-olds are safely away at colleges across the US making memories to last a lifetime, the young men and women of the IDF are serving on the front lines, risking their life and limb to ensure the safety of the Holy Land and the Jewish people. The injuries sustained by these young soldiers during their years of service forever changes the course of their lives. We are deeply indebted to these courageous heroes.

Each year, Belev Echad hosts groups of these wounded warriors as a small gesture of gratitude to the men and women to whom we owe so much. Our ten day tour of NYC provides respite for the body and psyche through visits to classic city sites, shows, sporting events, and community activities that heal the spirit and soul, creating memories and friendships that last a lifetime.

"I want to thank you very much for all of the amazing experiences I had over the last 10 days, it’s incomprehensible to me... We received from you and Belev Echad, treatment which was above and beyond what was necessary. You made all of our dreams come true and you are a man of gold with a great heart...I love you very much and we will meet again soon."

Meet the soldiers of
the August '23 NYC tour!

  • Matan Lev
    Age 30
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    Matan Lev, 30

    Unit: Lieutenant

    Matan enlisted in the Dovdvan unit in 2014, where he distinguished himself by completing the unit’s course with honors. His dedication and skills led him to pursue further advancement by attending the officers’ course at Behad. However, Matan’s journey took an unexpected turn when, after a year of intensive combat training, he began experiencing severe shoulder pain. Despite enduring continuous physical strain, the pain only worsened. Following various tests and an MRI, it became evident that multiple tears in his shoulder required immediate attention. Unfortunately, this necessitated a complex operation and an extensive recovery period of eight months. During this challenging phase, Matan underwent rehabilitation and diligently engaged in physiotherapy exercises every two days at the Baram 2 house. His determination and commitment paid off as he gradually regained strength and mobility. Following his successful rehabilitation, he rejoined the unit, assuming an administrative position for four months. After obtaining full approval from the army and completing his rehabilitation, Matan took on two demanding roles within the unit: leading rookies as a team commander and, later, commanding fellow fighters. He excelled in both positions, demonstrating his leadership skills and dedication to the unit’s mission.

  • Yarden Beny
    Age 28
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    Yarden Beny, 28

    Unit: Sergeant

    Yarden enlisted in the Paratrooper Corps, where he underwent rigorous training and proved himself capable of becoming a skilled fighter. Throughout his military service, Jordan encountered a series of impactful incidents that tested his resilience and commitment.  One event occurred during an operation in a refugee camp in Nablus, arresting dangerous terrorists. During the operation, a close friend of Yarden sustained a severe injury, having been hit by shrapnel in the palm. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Yarden swiftly administered first aid, stabilizing his friend and facilitating his prompt transfer to a hospital for further medical care. Towards the end of his service, another tragic incident unfolded. During a mission, a fatal accident claimed the life of one of the battalion’s commanders, leaving four others seriously wounded. Yarden was responsible for leading the rescue and evacuation efforts, including a good friend who was killed. These are just some of the events that have left their mark, and today, Yarden suffers from PTSD, which impacts his life.

  • Nir Reuveni
    Age 37
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    Nir Reuveni, 37

    Unit: Paratrooper Corps

    Nir joined the Paratrooper Corps and qualified as a skilled fighter. Nir was sent into Lebanon on dangerous missions.  While conducting a daylight operation and entering a house during one fateful mission, Nir’s team was recognized, and Hezbollah terrorists attacked. With skill, the team managed to neutralize the four Hezbollah fighters. However, their triumph was short-lived as a barrage of rockets rained down upon the house, causing its walls to crumble. Tragically, one of Nir’s fellow team members, who had taken the position Nir had been in seconds earlier, was struck and lost his life, while five others sustained severe injuries. Amidst the chaos, there was fear that Hezbella terrorists had kidnapped a soldier. Nir was entrusted with the critical task of guarding the entrance, ensuring the safety of their team members and preventing any potential abductions. The tense situation persisted for an hour, with the team unable to evacuate due to the ongoing danger. Finally, they had no choice but to go out into the open and retrieve their wounded and fallen comrades, who were transported to safety by a waiting tank that had arrived on the scene. Nir’s experience during this intense operation highlighted the immense challenges and sacrifices he endured during his service, which continues to impact him today.

  • Yehuda Cohen
    Age 31
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    Yehuda Cohen, 31

    Unit: Sergeant

    Yehuda enlisted in the Golani Brigade in 2011. His exceptional skills and dedication led to his acceptance into the brigade’s elite sabotage and engineering unit. In 2014, Operation Tzuk Eitan broke out and Yehuda and his comrades prepared for intense combat. Throughout the operation, Yehuda’s unit faced numerous battles and encountered various incidents, including an unfortunate AR accident that resulted in multiple casualties, leaving them to handle the challenging task of evacuating the wounded. Among the many missions, one particular raid on a house stands out in Yehuda’s memory. Their team experienced a heart-pounding encounter as they conducted the operation, narrowly escaping a potentially disastrous situation. Mere seconds after their departure, the house they had just raided unexpectedly exploded, revealing the dangerous presence of a trapped structure. These terrifying moments and trauma have continued to impact Yehuda many years later.

  • Yotam David
    Age 22
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    Yotam David, 22

    Unit: Staff Sergeant

    Yotam was protecting the Samarian region when he sustained a horrific injury in October 2022. Yotam and his team of 4 were patrolling the area in an armored vehicle.  At approximately 5AM, as their patrol neared its end, Yotam decided to briefly halt the vehicle in a Jewish settlement, to rest for a few minutes. Unbeknownst to Yotam, the driver impulsively drove off without informing or waking him. Regrettably, in the process, they navigated a treacherous intersection without curbs, unintentionally surpassing the road limit. As a result, the vehicle plummeted down a slope, hurtling approximately one hundred meters into a Wadi ravine. During the tumultuous roll, one of the soldiers was flung from the back door, his head colliding forcefully with a rock. In the final rotation, Yotam was ejected from the vehicle with his legs still partially trapped inside. Two rocks on either side of his head prevented him from fully extricating himself. Approximately fifteen minutes later, the driver and the remaining soldier were able to get up and call for help.  After three grueling hours, the rescue team successfully extricated Yotam from the precarious position and promptly airlifted him to Tel Hashomer for urgent medical attention. Upon arrival, Yotam was diagnosed with crushing injuries and nerve damage in his feet, rendering them temporarily paralyzed. He underwent a month of bed rest followed by two months of intensive rehabilitation. Thankfully, he is now able to walk with the help of crutches. 

  • Gil Benedek
    Age 32
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    Gil Benedek, 32

    Unit: Golani Patrol Officer

    Gil joined the army and rose through the ranks, ultimately being stationed as an officer in the esteemed Golani patrol. However, tragedy struck during Operation Tzuk Eitan when Gil fell victim to a Hamas ambush in the Sagaye neighborhood of Gaza. The incident resulted in the loss of two commanders and a fellow soldier, while 17 other members of the team sustained injuries. Gil himself was wounded in the shoulder and head. Following the attack, he embarked on a three-month rehabilitation program, displaying immense resilience and determination. After completing his medical treatment, Gil traveled to Vietnam. However, during his time there, he encountered stories of the Vietnam War that triggered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recognizing the severity of his condition, Gil committed himself to a rigorous three-year rehabilitation process to address and overcome his PTSD. Today, with extensive support from Belev Echad, Gil has successfully completed his studies in accounting. He currently works at Deloitte and assists Belev Echad.

  • Adar Kreiner
    Age 29
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    Adar Kreiner, 29

    Unit: Duvdevan Unit, Staff Sergeant
    Date of Injury: December 30th, 2014

    Adar joined the army with so much motivation that when he dislocated his shoulder during advanced training, he continued to train and ignore the pain. Later on, while training for the squad commending course he suffered the same injury, and again he did not give up. After the third time that Adar had dislocated his shoulder, he made the difficult decision to leave his unit and undergo surgery. After 2 days in the hospital, Adar started rehabilitation and 4 intensive months of daily physiotherapy.

Meet the soldiers of
the October '23 Los Angeles tour!

  • Doron Davidovich
    Age 31
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    Doron Davidovich, 31

    Unit: Staff Sergeant, Golani Brigade
    Date of Injury: 2014

    During Operation Protective Edge, he took over a house in the Sajaiya neighborhood of the Gaza Strip. His unit was ambushed and were hit directly by 7 missiles. As a result, his friends were killed and he was seriously injured by a shrapnel in the neck and foot. He underwent two operations and long rehabilitation that continues to this day. He currently suffers from severe sleep problems as a result of PTSD and problems with his ankle.

  • Matan Segelman
    Age 31
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    Matan Segelman, 31

    Unit: Kfir Brigade- Staff Sergeant
    Date of Injury: 11-21-2012

    Matan’s unit was understaffed which resulted in him covering for many people and barely getting any sleep. After 120 consecutive sleepless hours his commanders started noticing that his behavior was very odd. He was sent to a Psychologist which said he was fine and just need to rest but Matan insisted to see another Psychologist which then sent him to a psychiatrist. It was then that he was diagnosed with Manic Depression and was treated with medication.

  • Adi Hayal
    Age 28
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    Adi Hayal, 28

    Unit: Jerusalem Border Patrol Unit
    Date of Injury: 2015

    Adi was injured when a terrorist rammed his car into her. While walking towards her post -boom- a terrorist emerged in a car travelling at great speed towards herself and her friends, going onto the sidewalk and throwing her and her friends everywhere.
    A month ago she underwent surgery to restore long strips on the right foot. Since then she has been in intense treatment at Tel Hashomer Hospital .
    Adi is determined to try to put the whole incident behind her and continue her life as it was before the attack .

  • Shani Shwartzman
    Age 30
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    Shani Shwartzman, 30

    Date of Injury: 2012

    Shani served at central command at a clerical duty in charge of entry permits. One day on her way to her base the bus in which she was travelling was attacked. The terrorist put the bomb in a seat directly behind her. Shani suffered injuries to her right hand and left leg. Her right hand is limited in motion and the left leg remains with shrapnel.

  • Raz Bodany
    Age 40
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    Raz Bodany, 40

    Date of Injury: Operation Cast Lead, 2009

    In 2009 during Operation Cast Lead, Raz was an Operation Officer in the 13th Battalion. During the operation they barricaded in a house and were coordinating with the brigade commander in order to find out where the forces were operating. The armor force detected their group in the house and assuming they were enemy soldiers, started shelling the house with 2 bombs. The Brigade Commander Avi Peled was injured, the Battalion Commander Oren Cohen was injured as well.   Many of Division A Unit where on the second floor and they too were injured, in this incident 3 soldiers were killed and many wounded. Raz’s left eye was injured and eardrums in both ears were torn. His lower limbs and right hand where reconnected with screws. He is now in pension and unemployable.

  • Doron Akiva
    Doron Akiva
    Age 28
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    Doron Akiva, 28

    Unit: Rimon

    Doron enlisted in November 2014 and joined the sniper unit of the Givati Brigade. He later became part of the Commando Brigade as a sniper and head of Krav Maga. He was involved in many crucial activities and arrests in the Ramallah and Northern Shomron areas. On March 28, 2017, Doron and his entire unit entered Qalandiya to arrest a wanted terrorist. Doron was in charge of securing the house while others captured the terrorist. They apprehended the terrorist and began to leave the village when there was a commotion and rioting on the streets. Doron was hit by a block and fell, unable to move and vulnerable to more injuries. Doron needed a stretcher to evacuate, but his unit was worried getting a stretcher would dangerously delay their exit from the village. So Doron pushed through excruciating pain to walk out of the town with the assistance of his fellow soldiers. Doron could not move his left hand and had extreme pain in his neck, but he had no idea of the extent of the damage. After an hour and a half walk, Doron reached safety and was evacuated to Hadassah Hospital. After a CT and MRI scan, Doron was diagnosed with four tear fractures in the neck vertebrae. Doron spent months in bed, not moving, after which he started physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments. Eighteen months of hard work later, Doron was almost back to full mobility, but his world had fallen apart. Doron could no longer compete in MMA competitions or fulfill his world MMA championship dreams. He was lost and didn’t know what to do with his life. In July 2018, Doron joined Belev Echad on a trip to NYC, and everything changed. The support, love, and understanding he received changed his life. The long conversations about military service, the trauma of being injured during operational activity, and the transition from being a fighter in an elite unit to an injured person with a physical or mental disability. When Doron returned to Israel, he joined forces with Belev Echad to offer MMA training to soldiers, providing a place to vent their anger and create self-confidence. Today Doron is the proud coach and director of MMA, with 22 team members who come twice a week for training.

  • Yahel Landau
    Yahel Landau
    Age 25
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    Yahel Landau, 25

    In 2017 Yahel enlisted in the Border Patrol unit. One night during a regular patrol, Yahel and her team were told to go to an Arab village with a mob of angry demonstrators. They arrived at the town and were met with violence. Firecrackers and large stones were thrown at them. Yahel, along with her unit, went out to arrest the rioters. They reached a dead end and needed to climb over a 3-meter wall to continue. When it was Yahel’s turn, she fell and couldn’t move. The soldier beside Yahel saw what had happened and started screaming in fear. The screams alerted others, and they were able to evacuate Yahel to the hospital, where they discovered she had crushed her knee and torn ligaments and cartilage—months followed with surgery and rehabilitation.  In one day, Yahel went from a fighter to a nurse, which affected her physical and mental state. What started with a physical injury continued with PTSD, which Yahel is still dealing with today, exploring various treatments. 

  • Raz Mizrahi
    Raz Mizrahi
    Age 22
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    Raz Mizrahi, 22

    Unit: Supervisor

    During Operation Guardian of the Walls, Raz was sent with her units to keep the calm in East Jerusalem, where tensions were very high due to the conflict in Gaza. Stationed in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood, she was on high alert. After dispersing a demonstration, they set up a checkpoint. Suddenly, a vehicle sped towards them and rammed into the police. Raz was trapped under the wheels of the car. While lying there trapped, bleeding and in terrible pain, drifting in and out of consciousness, Raz heard gunshots fired at the vehicle and the driver trying to open the door to escape. Raz raised her leg, prevented the car door from opening, and ensured that her fellow police could neutralize the terrorist.  Raz went through four months of difficult rehab. Her whole body suffered from injuries, and she needed to learn to walk again. Additionally, following the attack, Raz suffered from severe anxiety. She suffered from nightmares and was afraid of cars. Even crossing the street caused anxiety. She thought her life and all her plans were over. Although the terrorist hadn’t killed her, he had killed all her dreams and crushed her ambitions.  But Raz was a fighter, and although she did not have to return to service, she worked on herself physically and psychologically until she could return. Not only did Raz return, but she also trained to become an officer, ensuring that the terrorist did not destroy her dreams.

Meet the soldiers of
the October '23 South Africa tour!

  • Aviv Bar
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    Aviv Bar

    Unit: Lieutenant, Border Patrol
    Date of Injury: 2016

    Aviv served as an NCO in the border guard in Jerusalem for 8 months, helping combat soldiers prepare for the ethical aspects of their service and missions. After 8 months she was sent to officer course. During the course, she planned to spend a week in the city with her unit, which was supposed to start with a tour along the promenade of the governor’s palace. While she and her unit were waiting there for the tour, a terror attack took place – a terrorist ran the unit over with a truck. Four soldiers died and Aviv was critically injured and suffered both internal injuries and orthopedic injuries in her spine and legs. After 4 months in the hospital, learning basic functions such as sitting or walking, she was released from the military. 8 months later, after a long rehabilitation, she went back to the military to finish the officer course and served as an education officer in the air force for the rest of her service.

  • Michal Azogui
    Age 28
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    Michal Azogui, 28

    Unit: Detention center commander, First Lieutenant, Military police.
    Date of Injury: February 28th, 2017

    Michal served as a rookie squad commander and later as a rookie division officer in the military police force, where she spent most of her service. She was transferred to a prison branch at the headquarters of the Military Police Force for her last 6 months where she was responsible, among other things, to expose soldiers to the prison service. During a tour with soldiers at a prison facility, while witnessing a demonstration of the IPS lender unit’s capabilities, which included a presentation involving the use of a stun grenade, Michal suffered injuries from the grenade to her face and specifically her eye, which could not be saved.  After a short home recovery, Michal made the decision to return and complete her service as originally planned, while continuing to undergo aesthetic treatments to aid in the rehabilitation of the face and to fit a prosthetic eye.

  • Stav Israel
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    Stav Israel

    Unit: Golani Brigade - Sergeant
    Date of Injury: 7-28-2014

    Stav was drafted into the military in 2011 and served as a combat soldier in the Golani brigade. In August 2014 operation protective edge started and Stav took part in the fighting together with this platoon.  While waiting to be called into Sajiya, they saw injured and fallen soldiers, some of whom Stav was friends with from the army and from childhood, being sent back into Israel. Inside Sajiya and during the fighting Stav also suffered a physical injury due to a grenade, leaving him hurt both physically and emotionally. The impact of these losses and the events that unfolded in Gaza affected Stav’s health and well-being greatly. He understood he needed to get help and started rehabilitation, which he did. After a very challenging journey with many difficulties, he is in a different and better different place now, but acknowledges that “rehabilitation is an ongoing process”.

  • Mordechai Yamin
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    Mordechai Yamin

    Unit: Engineering Corps - Sergeant
    Date of Injury: 7-10-2014

    Mordechai was enlisted into the Israeli combat engineering corps in 2011. Throughout his service, he served both in the area of the Jordan Valley and the Gaza Strip, participating in various operational activities both within Israel and beyond its borders. As Mordechai’s military service was nearing its end, he went on vacation, not expecting to return to duty. However, fate had other plans, as Operation Protective Edge commenced shortly before his scheduled liberation. Mordechai was called back to rejoin his battalion, heading into the intense fighting in Gaza. During the operation, the battleground was filled with heavy artillery and fierce combat. Immediately upon their entry to Gaza fighting began, and Mordechai got injured, suffering severe injuries from shrapnel that scattered throughout his body – impacting his head, face, and limbs. He spent 4 months in the hospital and continued for a successful two years of rehabilitation (including neurological rehabilitation) with the goal of restoring basic abilities such as memory and conversational skills.

  • Ron Avdan
    Ron Avdan
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    Ron Avdan

    In 2015, Ron served as a combat soldier in Bethlehem. During one of his guard duties, he heard a sudden loud noise and instinctively pulled his head out of the post to investigate. Tragically, a second loud explosion occurred at that moment, causing him injuries from the shrapnel. Despite being wounded, Ron displayed immense courage and dedication, ensuring that there would be no infiltration of terrorists into the base. Following the incident, Ron was rushed to a hospital for urgent surgery to address the shrapnel injuries. Unfortunately, the damage was severe, and he ultimately had to undergo the removal of his left eye, resulting in permanent loss of sight in that eye. After enduring several months of rehabilitation, Ron now uses a prosthetic.

  • Idan Levi
    Idan Levi
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    Idan Levi

    After 10 months of service in the personnel planning array in the adjutant corps, Idan continued to officers course. Towards the end of the course, there is a week that includes a series of educational activities in Jerusalem. One of the key components was a guided tour along the promenade of the governor’s palace. The company Idan was in was gathered in the same location waiting for it to start but unfortunately, this part never took place. Minutes before the beginning of the tour a ramming attack, carried out by a terrorist, took place, resulting in numerous casualties with four soldiers losing their lives. Idan suffered orthopedic and neurological damage, as well as mental trauma. After only three months Idan managed to get back to the military and to finish the course and his service.

  • Dikla Ozeri
    Dikla Ozeri
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    Dikla Ozeri

    Unit: Search and Rescue
    Date of Injury: 2015

    Dikla served as a combat soldier in the Home Front Command, a unit dedicated perform rescue missions for civilians and to safeguard the country’s civilian communities and land. After seven months of intensive training and preparation, her battalion was sent on a week of vacation. That week was cut short as they were unexpectedly called into action as an auxiliary force for another Brigade due to tensions escalating in the country. During a 12-hour shift securing Adam Square, while she and her fellow soldiers were away from the other members of her unit, Dikla helped conduct a security check on Palestinians. While securing her friend, a Palestinian terrorist took advantage of the opportunity to strike from behind, stabbing her in the neck and back. Her friend managed to neutralize the terrorist and prevent a larger-scale attack from occurring, but Dikla suffered severe physical and mental injuries.

  • Dalia Plotnikov
    Age 23
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    Dalia Plotnikov, 23

    Unit: Border Police
    Date of Injury: 2019

    Dalia served as a combat soldier in the Border Police, a military service she describes as the most challenging but fulfilling experience. During a very tense time in Israel, in May 2019, and following another security escalation, Dalia together with a team of four other combat soldiers from her unit was sent to Nablus for a mission. Unfortunately, on the way, an Arab driver collided with their vehicle, causing it to overturn completely. Dalia sustained serious injuries, including fractures in two vertebrae, injuries to her spine, a dislocated shoulder, and stitches. She went through a long journey of rehabilitation, in and outside of the hospital, using a wheelchair for most of it until she was able to walk again. To this day Dalia undergoes physical therapy and psychological regularly.

  • Dror Russo
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    Dror Russo

    Unit: Artillery , Chief of Staff
    Date of Injury: 2017

    Dror was a combat soldier in the Artillery forces and was involved throughout his military service in ongoing operational activities in the Judea and Samaria area. During his unit’s training, Dror’s team traveled at night through challenging and rugged terrain with the Corps’ engineering tools. Due to a misguidance in night navigation, they continued ahead to what was a 12-meter chasm, fell with the vehicle, and flipped multiple times they were rescued and evacuated to the hospital. Dror suffered vertebral fractures in his back, which resulted in him spending 8 long months lying in bed, unable to move, until he could start walking again. Aside from his physical injuries, he struggled with a lot of self-accusations, constantly questioning what he could have done differently to prevent the accident. Today Dror is gradually healing, both physically and mentally.

  • Elyosef Haim Malkieli
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    Elyosef Haim Malkieli

    Unit: Captain, Golani Brigade
    Date of Injury: 2014

    Elyosef served as a platoon commander in the Golani brigade. During Operation Protective Edge, Elyosef’s platoon was sent on a mission in a neighborhood Sajiya, a neighborhood known to be extremely dangerous due to terror groups occupying this area. The platoon went in with an armored personnel carrier, and just before they managed to find and settle in one of the houses in the area fighting began all around them. Trying to get in the house and accomplish the mission and fight back, Elyosef, still from inside the vehicle, threw a grenade inside to clear the way for his soldiers. The grenade, unfortunately, ricocheted off the ceiling and came back toward the car and his soldiers. In a split-second decision to protect his comrades, Elyosef instinctively clung to the grenade, shielding his fellow soldiers from harm. While everyone miraculously survived, Elyosef suffered severe injuries to his hands and feet and went through long rehabilitation process.