Shai Ovadia

“During the winter of 1998 I was in Lebanon with my unit, the Givati Brigade. I was a soldier back then and our unit had received intelligence that terrorists were planning on rigging a bomb on a road that was used by the IDF. We received orders to ambush them, so we began planning an operation. After two days, we deployed into the mission. We established our position and took turns sleeping while two soldiers maintained watch. At 3:00AM, we heard footsteps that were coming closer and closer to us, so we engaged. It turned out that they were just wild pigs. We had to stay one more night, an Erev Shabbat. The next morning we noticed four terrorists approaching. We engaged in attack, resulting in three soldiers from our unit being wounded. I was wounded in the leg, and my commander was wounded in the neck, but we both recovered completely and went back to our normal lives. A combat dog that was with us suffered wounds to the stomach and couldn’t return to combat. We ended up we giving it away to a blind girl in Israel to help her with her daily life. An Ukranian lone soldier from our unit, however, Kikolai Rappaport, suffered fatal wounds and ultimately could not recover. He was taken to a hospital in Haifa and died soon after. He was 24 years old. This is the reality in Israel. Everyone knows someone who has given the ultimate sacrifice for our young state and for Jews around the world. This is why Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut is so special in Israel. We see the real sacrifice that our people have endured and we are proud of what we have accomplished.”
– Shai Ovadia, Upper School Hebrew Teacher

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