The homecoming of an Operation Protective Edge hero

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Against all odds, Ohad Ben Shai, critically injured in the 2014 Gaza war, walked out of the hospital on Tuesday.

By Orli Harari

Soliders in Protective Edge

21-year-old IDF soldier Ohad Ben Shai, who was critically injured in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, will be released from the hospital on Tuesday.

A combat soldier in the Egoz special forces unit, Ben Shai was injured doing reconnaissance in the Gaza town of Saja’iyya after being hit in the head by shrapnel from a mortar explosion.

“The doctors told us that this was a very complicated situation, and prepared us for the worst,” said Ben Shai’s mother, Erika, in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth.

Against all odds, Ohad was taken off of life support, reconnected with his surroundings, and after only two weeks was transferred to Tel Hashomer’s rehabilitation hospital.

Thanks to the tireless effort of the doctors, nurses and medical staff at the hospital, Ohad regained use of his feet and began walking little by little.

“Ohad’s tenacity and unwillingness to give up is what got him this far. There are good days and bad days, but he leaves everything else outside of the therapy room,” said Erika.

While he is still having difficulty speaking due to his injury, he can say sporadic words, enough to relay his feelings.

Ohad still has to undergo continuing therapy numerous times a week. Likewise, his house will be refitted to ease his functionability.

“We still have a long way to go in therapy with Ohad,” said Erika. His friends however are planning the next step for Ohad, to encourage his full recovery, a trek in Thailand.

First Sergeant Yaniv, who was recently released from the army together with Ohad’s induction class, told reporters that “our induction class is planning the trip to Thailand together, and we want Ohad and his father Shimon to join us. Our joint release gives us a sense of closure after what happened.”






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