Captain Ziv Shilon, who suffered life threatening injuries during an explosion along the Gaza border that resulted in him losing his arm, has proudly returned to the IDF and has awarded pins to his fellow soldiers due to the installation of an artificial arm. He continues to courageously serve the State of Israel, despite the fact that he is now disabled due to an explosion caused by Palestinian terrorists. Like many other Israelis, Captain Ziv Shilon is very committed to Israel and does not want the trauma he endured to interfere with helping the country. As Captain Shilon declared, “It’s not easy losing your hand but I won’t give up.”

Following the terror attack along the Gaza border, Captain Ziv Shilon had lost consciousness and needed to be hospitalized for a while. He reported, “After the explosion I noticed that my left hand had remained on the fence. A lot of blood was pouring from my mangled arms. I managed to run and I fired 20 bullets at the terrorists, using the hand that was hurt but not severed, as well as my mouth and nose to operate the weapon. I reached my jeep, where the medic was seated. He saw my mangled arms and almost fainted. I head-butted him hard in the chest and told him to apply a tourniquet quickly, because otherwise I will die. Now I understand that this saved my life.”

All of Israel was impressed by Captain Ziv Shilon’s amazing courage and fighting spirit. While in the hospital, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had visited Captain Ziv Shilon and presented him with a gift, a book of his brother Yoni Netanyahu’s letters, with a dedication reading, “An admired soldier and commander, the whole of Israel salutes you for your courage and your sacrifice protecting the land of Israel.”

Yoni Netanyahu was the IDF officer who was killed by Palestinian terrorists who were holding Israeli citizens hostage in Entebbe International Airport. Captain Ziv Shilon has claimed that he admires him greatly. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had told Captain Shilon, “The people of Israel embrace you and support you. I am thanking you in the name of all, I’m moved by the strength you posses within you.”

Nevertheless, despite his bravery, losing one’s arm was very difficult for Captain Ziv Shilon and going back to the army was an uphill struggle. Nevertheless, he asserted, “There’s always something to give you hope, a small corner of light at the end of the tunnel. It’s something you understand during combat service. When you’re at the 79th kilometer out of an 80 kilometer journey, you start counting the trees around you. When you get to the 100th tree, you know you made some progress. It’s the same with the injury. It’s a journey, a very long journey.” Yet, after only three months of recovering, Captain Ziv Shilon is back serving Israel.

As Israeli President Shimon Peres once stated, “All of us have an obligation to take part in building the nation and all of us have an obligation to take part in defending it.” Israelis strongly support the right of disabled people, whether they lack an arm, are confined to a wheelchair, or suffer from mental illnesses such as autism, to serve the State of Israel with pride in the armed services, and provides disabled Israelis with all of the support that they need in order to be able to contribute to the country.

By Rachel Avraham