By Yotam Rozenwald
Tazpit News Agency
The IDF will award 53 soldiers, among them 4 women, military decorations for their service during this past summer’s Operation Protective Edge. Among the women, one received a citation (talash), and three others received medals of appreciation from the Israeli Southern Command.
Lieutenant Dr. Regina Pekman, a medical officer in the 188 Brigade, received a citation for her actions on July 31, 2014. Lieutenant Dr. Pekman arrived to a deployment area in Israel that was bombarded by mortar shells. She commanded the evacuation of injured IDF soldiers while providing medical treatment for many other Israeli soldiers who were wounded. All through the incident, “Red Alert” sirens were heard, and the entire area was under rocket fire.
Sergeant Ronnie Jackson, an electronic observation handler from the observation unit in the Nesher battalion, received an award for her actions on July 17, 2014. Sergeant Jackson identified a group of 13 Hamas terrorists who infiltrated Israel through a terror tunnel, near Kibbutz Sufa, on the Israeli-Gaza border. Jackson reported her findings to her commanders, which led to a successful Israeli response that prevented the terrorists from killing Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Corporal Noa Teitel, an electronic observation handler from the Israeli Navy, was honored for her actions on July 8, 2014. Corporal Teitel identified a group of Hamas terrorists that infiltrated Israel by sea, near Kibbutz Zikim, in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Corporal Teitel informed her commanders and participated in the coordination between navy and infantry forces that arrived on the scene. Corporal Teitel’s actions enabled Israeli forces to stop the maritime terror attack.
Sergeant Lihi Meir, an electronic observation handler from the observation unit in the Nesher battalion, was honored for her actions on July 21, 2014. Sergeant Meir identified five Hamas terrorists who infiltrated Israel and disguised themselves with IDF uniforms. Later that day, another group of Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel in the same location. Again, Sergeant Meir identified the group and reported to her commanders. Infantry forces and tanks arrived at the scene and prevented them from murdering Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Among the soldiers receiving honors, the highest honor will be given to Lieutenant Eitan Pond from the Givati brigade. Lieutenant Pond will receive the “Medal of Distinguished Service” for his brave actions during the abduction of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who was taken into a terror tunnel in the Gaza Strip. Lieutenant Pond arrived at the scene of the abduction and led a four-man search force into the tunnel in order to find Lieutenant Goldin. Lieutenant Pond’s actions helped determine Lieutenant Goldin’s death.
The recipients will receive their awards from IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz and other generals.