Protective Edge Injured Returns to Work

Gadi Yarkoni, who lost both of his legs in a mortar blast on last day of the operation, will run for Mayor of the Eshkol Regional Council.

Cynthia Blank,

Mortar attack on Eshkol region (file)
Mortar attack on Eshkol region (file)
Magen David Adom

Gadi Yarkoni, the economic coordinator of Kibbutz Nirim who was seriously wounded on the last day of Operation Protective Edge, was released Thursday from Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. 

Hours before a ceasefire with Israel went into place on August 26, terrorist organization Hamas shot a hail of mortar shells into Nirim, striking Yarkoni, 47, as well as two of his close friends. 

Ze'ev Etzion, 55, and Shahar Melamed, 43 - the security office and irrigation coordinator of the Kibbutz, respectively - were killed in the attack. In addition, as a result of his own injuries, Yarkoni lost both of his legs. 

Despite his painful experiences, Yarkoni was happy to return home to his kibbutz in the western Negev and has ambitious plans for the future, Walla! News reported. 

The married father of three not only intends to return to work on the kibbutz, but also run for the chairmanship of the Eshkol Regional Council - a position vacated by Haim Yellin, who is joining Yesh Atid in elections for the 20th Knesset. 

"I feel great," Yarkoni told Walla! on Wednesday. "Tomorrow I am leaving after six months. There was a lot of turmoil, but thanks to the excellent staff here and at Soroka Hospital, who transformed me from a wreck back to an active person, I'm going home tomorrow to work as an economic coordinator in Otef Aza (Gaza envelope)."

After his release from Sheba, where Yarkoni received months of rehabilitation, Yarkoni also plans to visit Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, and thank the medical staff there responsible for saving his life in the difficult days after he was injured. 

Speaking about his candidacy for chairman of the Eshkol Regional Council, Yarkoni said he plans "to explain to politicians that we are living near Gaza because of Zionism. We are one of the most important areas in the country, if not the most important." 

"I intend to strengthen the communities around Gaza, and work to expand the population there. I'm excited to return to the kibbutz tomorrow. On Sunday, I'll be back in the office."