Wounded soldiers taken for treatment (archive
Wounded soldiers taken for treatment (archiveFlash 90

Great excitement was felt at the Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva on Saturday, as an IDF soldier who was critically wounded in Gaza opened his eyes for the first time, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reports.

The soldier, Ohad Ben-Yishai, was wounded from shrapnel that entered his head while fighting terrorists in the Sajaiya neighborhood in Gaza City. He was airlifted to the Soroka Hospital where he underwent surgery.

For days Ben-Yishai was sedated and on a respirator, with his family staying at his bedside and praying for a sign of life. On Saturday, he finally opened his eyes, though he has not yet regained full consciousness and has yet to communicate with his surroundings.

"When we got to the hospital they could not even promise us that he would get through the night," his father, Shimon, recalled in a conversation with Yedioth Ahronoth. "Ohad is fighting for his life and they were able to stabilize him.”

Shimon continued, "He opened his eyes but has still not regained consciousness. I do not know what this means medically, but it is quite obvious to me that this is progress."

"We had many plans for when he concludes his army service, and I'm waiting for him to recover so that we can fulfill them,” he said.

Ohad’s mother, Erica, told the newspaper, "After two weeks that he was sedated, he opened his eyes, it's a step forward on the way to recovery. Ohad opened his eyes and moved his pupils from side to side. It’s a step forward, but still a small step. When I ask him to shake my hand he does not shake it, but he does look at me.”

“The doctors said this is a big step. The neurosurgeon told us that he is very optimistic,” she added.