By Alina Dain Sharon/JNS.org
CHICAGO—By the time Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
Captain Ziv Shilon realized an explosive device had detonated near him while on
patrol near the Gaza border, his left hand was torn off and his right hand was
still hanging on by just a few pieces of skin. Ten surgeries and months of
rehabilitation later, his left hand has been replaced by a hook prosthesis and
his right hand is paralyzed.
Click photo to download. Caption: IDF captain Ziv Shilon (center), who has one prosthetic hand and is paralyzed in the other, poses with former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi (left) and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces National Director Maj. Gen. Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon at FIDF’s national gala in New York this March. Credit: FIDF.
That’s not going to stop him, he insists. Despite his
injury, Shilon plans to enroll in law school and to later return to an army
“Defending the state of Israel is a need that still
burns inside of me. It’s the noblest goal one can devote one’s life to, and I
do not regret it for a moment… I really hope it will be possible,” he said in
an interview with JNS.org.
In March, Shilon visited the U.S. and was honored at
the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) National New York Gala Dinner.
He returned to the U.S. in mid-May, this time to Chicago, where FIDF supporters
Morris Silverman and Lori Komisar arranged for him to receive tests at the
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to see if he can be fitted for “a better
prosthetic and a different type of rehabilitation,” Komisar told JNS.org.
“He is special, he’s just all goodness, it’s
incredible,” Komisar said of Shilon.
Click photo to download. Caption: Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Benny Gantz meets with IDF Captain Ziv Shilon in the hospital. Credit: FIDF.
By supporting FIDF, Komisar and Silverman help Israeli
children and families who have lost a parent or relative in uniform, among
other projects. “The FIDF really takes care of the human side of these kids
being soldiers… Like every organization, it has its problems, but the impact is
that dollars go much further than most places,” Komisar said.
A battalion commander in the Givati brigade, Shilon
was already commanding 150 soldiers at the age of 25 by the time he was injured
on Oct. 23, 2012. That day, heavy fog impaired the unit’s visibility as they
scanned an area near Kibbutz Kissufim for explosives. Fearing sniper fire, he
had left his forces behind him. The device detonated as he attempted to open a
gate. Severely injured and scared of a possible kidnapping, like what had
happened to Gilad Shalit, Shilon somehow managed to pick up his right hand,
placed it on top of his barely hanging left hand, and ran back to his soldiers.
Despite having gone from commanding so many soldiers
and doing a job for seven years that required great physical fitness to a young
man fully dependent on his family, Shilon feels that his IDF service had a
purpose. “I allowed citizens to be safer and for mothers …read more