The Maccabees of old defeated a far more powerful enemy and re-established Jewish rule over Israel. These six modern Maccabees overcame tremendous odds as well – and continue to contribute their endless drive and talents to the protection of their families and friends.
Maj. Eran: Operations Officer in the Bardelas Battalion
In October 2015, Maj. Eran, then a company commander in the Kfir Brigade, was injured in a Palestinian car ramming attack along with four fellow soldiers. Immediately after the attack, Maj. Eran was quick to provide first aid to the other injured soldiers until medics were able to arrive. Refusing to let his injuries stop him, Maj. Eran reunited with his team just three weeks later. He now serves as an Operations Officer in the Bardelas Battalion, one of the IDF (Zahal)’s co-ed combat units.
Maj. Yonatan Meir: Deputy Battalion Commander in the Armored Corps
In October 2015, Maj. Yonatan, then a platoon commander, was injured during a riot near Hebron. Maj. Yonatan attempted to break up the riot when a rioter attacked him. After engaging in hand-to-hand combat, the attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the elbow and the palm of his hand. The doctors recommended three weeks of recovery, but Maj. Yonatan returned to lead his soldiers that same day. Now, he serves as the deputy battalion commander of the Armored Corps’ 77th Battalion.
Sgt. Joanna: Search and Rescue Combat Soldier
Joanna, a Search and Rescue Battalion soldier in the Home Front Command, was born in Israel, though her parents came from the Phillipines. Three years ago, a typhoon struck her grandparents home, and completely destroyed it. An IDF (Zahal) humanitarian aid mission was there to provide help. Now, Joanna serves in the unit that was there to save her family, paying it forward.
1st Sgt. (Res.) Izzy: Special Forces Sharpshooter
During Operation Cast Lead – right after he finished training – 1st Sgt. Izzy was struck by a mortar and lost his left (and dominant) arm. A year and a half after the injury, he re-joined the IDF (Zahal), where he lead a squad of thirteen soldiers through their advanced training, and continues to serve in the reserves as a special forces sharpshooter.
Cpt. Or Ben Yehuda: Combat Intelligence headquarters
When she was a company commander in the Caracal Battalion, Cpt. Or Ben Yehuda and her driver came under fire on the Israel-Sinai border and were both immediately hit. Despite being shot, Cpt. Or Ben Yehuda went to provide aid to her driver, who was shot in the arm, while firing back at the attackers. When backup arrived, Cpt. Or Ben Yehuda led her soldiers in pushing back the attack, refusing to be evacuated until the threat was over. For this, she received the Medal of Valor, Israel’s highest military honor.
Staff Sgt. Noam: soldier in a technological unit
Staff Sgt. Noam was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia three times before the age of 10. Noam’s mother was pregnant during his third fight against the disease, and they discovered that the still unborn baby was a bone marrow match. Four months later, Noam was treated with the blood from his brother’s umbilical cord and has been in remission ever since. He enlisted in the IDF (Zahal), a step he sees leading to ultimate independence.