In 2008, Israel was forced into a war in Gaza, in what would become known as Operation Cast Lead. Many IDF soldiers were killed, while hundreds were wounded. One of these, Aharon Karov, writes at Israel Hayom of his experience, and the love he feels for his homeland, Israel, and her people:
This time eight years ago, we were embroiled in Operation Cast Lead, when I left my new wife mere hours after our wedding to go fight alongside my soldiers in the Gaza Strip. I also left my worried family, parents, brothers and sisters, who had just stood next to me under the chuppah, the traditional Jewish wedding canopy.
Despite the fear, it was obvious to all: This was a war that must be fought. As an officer, I had a personal obligation to my soldiers, who had been with me from the time they entered the induction center until they became fighters. And I had a national obligation, because the people of Israel and the State of Israel are far greater than any personal considerations, as important as those may be.
The rest is known. I left my wife and family behind and went to the Gaza Strip. And I left my nose, lips and other body parts in the Gaza Strip, torn and scattered by the force of the explosion that left me mortally wounded and on the verge of meeting my ancestors. My parents and wife were brought to the hospital in the early hours to say goodbye to me.
Doctors say my case is a miracle. Ten days after being wounded, I opened my eyes for the first time. I did not remember a thing. I was like a newborn child, only utterly disheartened and robbed of the will to continue living. But I recovered enough to be released from the hospital several weeks later. That being said, my rehabilitation was only just beginning. Eight years have passed, and I still carry my wounds every day in the treatments, the pain, the medicines, the ups and downs of my return to life.
Many ask where I get the strength to continue. The answer is obvious: We have no other country and no other nation. After being injured, I realized that God sustains me and my wife, and that I had to continue, move ahead, and get stronger. The support of the Israeli public gave us much strength. Step by step, I learned how to speak, eat, walk and do simple tasks, until eventually I succeeded in running a marathon, having three children, and, with much effort, finishing a bachelor's degree...