Medal for Lt. Eitan, Hero of Protective Edge

'Eitan,' to be awarded prestigious honor for rushing into Hamas terror tunnel to save Hadar Goldin, hy"d.

Uzi Baruch,

Ya'alon with First Lt. Eitan and his wife
Ya'alon with First Lt. Eitan and his wife
Miri Tzahi

A special committee reviewing the long list of heroic acts by IDF soldiers during Operation Protective Edge has decided to award the Medal of Courage - the second most prestigious award - to Givati Brigade Deputy Commander "Eitan," who entered a Hamas terror tunnel in August in pursuit of the abductors of Lt. Hadar Goldin, hy"d. 

According to Channel 2, the Medal of Courage is awarded to a "feat by a combat soldier at the risk of his or her life." 

The committee is also due to dole out four other prestigious medals, 12 citations from the Chief of Staff, and 27 medals from Southern Command Chief Sami Turgeman. Twelve medals will also be given to entire combat units. 

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gants will review the recommendations, and if and when he approves them he will personally award the honorees before retiring from office in 2015. 

Eitan may not be so keen on accepting the medal, however. 

"I don't want a medal; I'm no hero," Lt. Eitan stated in a Yediot Aharonot interview in August. "If not me, someone else would have done it."

"This is not some kind of heroic feat," he continued. "This is the essence of being a combat soldier, of being a commander." 

Lt. Eitan ran after Goldin - who was presumed abducted - in a Hamas terror tunnel, endangering his life in the process.

The move, while technically against IDF protocol, allowed the IDF to determine Goldin's death - and prevent another batch of terrorist releases under the assumption that Goldin is still alive, a la the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal. 

In the end, the deputy commander only went ahead with the approval of the Givati ​​Brigade commander, Col. Ofer Winter. "He said, 'Throw a grenade [in] before you go," Lt. Eitan recalled.

"It was not reckless," he stated. "I made an informed decision. I knew this tunnel was something you don't go into, I knew what the risk would be and understood it - but I decided to act."




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