Faces of Iron: Daniel

Stand for Israel  |  July 2, 2024

Daniel Kopilov, wounded IDF soldier wearing black shirt and black shorts, in wheelchair with amputated leg.
(Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)

“We came with The Fellowship to Israel. I remember the first day. Everything looked so beautiful.”

When Daniel made aliyah (immigrated to the Holy Land) with his parents on a 2019 Fellowship flight from Ukraine, he was also amazed by the people of Israel.

“I immediately felt like I belong here. Everyone wants to help you, especially if you don’t speak Hebrew, to make you feel like you’re exactly in the place that you belong.” Daniel worked hard to learn Hebrew, and came to deeply love this, his historic and biblical homeland.

So, after a few years as an Israeli, this young man joined a combat unit of the IDF, to show his appreciation for the country and its people. On October 7th, Daniel’s unit was stationed on Israel’s northern border. So as they learned the news of Hamas’ attacks in the south, they also began experiencing rocket and drone attacks by Hezbollah.

After over a month in the north, Daniel returned home for 24 hours to see his parents before heading to Gaza as a commander. While serving in the war there, Daniel’s unit was clearing a house where Hamas terrorists had been hiding.

“We went inside, but the house was booby trapped, and a Hamas terrorist activated the booby trap which caused a huge explosion. It was kind of like a dream when it happened. Everything was in kind of slow motion. Then I realized that my leg was cut off by the explosion, and I had to stop the bleeding. I put a tourniquet on by myself to save myself. I don’t know how I was able to do it.”

Fifteen soldiers in Daniel’s unit were badly injured. Daniel was treated in the field before being sent to Fellowship-supported Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. He lost consciousness, and was in a coma for three days before at last waking up. It was then that he learned three of his closest friends in the combat unit had died from their injuries.

With support from The Fellowship and our friends around the world who stand for Israel, Daniel is inspired to keep healing and to keep living an inspiring life. And he’ll do so in memory of the dear friends he lost.

“I have to be strong for them and keep their memory. They didn’t die for nothing. I wasn’t injured for nothing. We were there to defend our country.”

Read more Faces of Iron stories and learn how The Fellowship is helping survivors of October 7.