Staff Sergeant (res.) Gilad Rahamim Aviad
Staff Sergeant (res.) Gilad Rahamim AviadDvir Amar

Staff Sergeant (res.) Gilad Rahamim Aviad, serves in the Harmash Company of Battalion 8104, and was seriously injured several weeks ago in Khan Yunis.

Now, Gilad speaks with Arutz Sheva - Israel National News about his injury and recovery.

"While we were in one of the buildings, I was standing guard at the main gate and I observed a junction which overlooks the entrance to the house. Suddenly, there was an incredible blast, a mortar landed on top of us, on the house, I saw a lot of black smoke and a lot of fire pushed me backwards and threw me from the post," he recalls.

"I fired off a few bursts towards the junction and I felt great pressure in my chest. I went over to my friends in the unit, I took my vest off so that I could operate the incident, the medic began treating me and I saw that I had a large wound in the left side of my chest. I felt like those were my last moments and I started to say the Shema Yisrael [prayer] and the confession, with very mixed feelings."

Gilad was quickly evacuated by a Unit 669 helicopter to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious but stable condition.

"They brought me into a four-hour operation, and then we discovered the great miracle: a three-centimeter fragment had entered my left chest, passed millimeters away from my heart, and made a hole in my diaphragm, singed my stomach a little, and by miracle of miracles I am standing here and alive," he tells.

Miriam Rubin, Gilad's wife, supported him throughout the entire process.

"Gilad called on Thursday, after he had been in Gaza for two weeks and hadn't spoken to me in eight days, and in the first phone call he called to tell me he had been injured," she recalls. "'First of all, thank you for the packages and the gifts, how are you? By the way, I got injured.' At first I thought he was only a bit injured and then when the Injuries Officer told me that he needed to go in for tests in the ICU and within how much time I could be there, I left my work and I went to him as fast as possible. I made sure there was a babysitter for the little one, I updated parents and the family."

"I arrived at the hospital and I saw Gilad and from there the whole story about the injury began. After eight days when I really was waiting for a phone call and a sign of life, what encourages me is the knowledge that he had fought and that is important and significant, the nation needs him. A day before I told myself, 'He should call already.' Thank G-d he called, he is alive, we're focusing on the fact that a great miracle happened and he was saved, thank G-d."

Gilad expounds on the enormous unity he saw during his time in Gaza: "It was a complex period of 90 days of reserve duty, and especially the two weeks in Gaza - during which time we felt unity." He describes, "What we were raised on is the great unity in the nation, and that we need to believe in it. We see it in the reserves - the people on the most extreme right and the most extreme left are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder, loving one another with the love of friends, that they could not have imagined beforehand."

"We saw the matter of unity in the hospital. Everyone is trying to give what he can. Haredim from 'Ahim La'oref' who brought him breakfast every morning. In the evening another haredi would bring us grilled sandwiches. In the afternoon religious and secular would come, and mixed organizations would also come, everyone wanted to give strength, everyone came and joined in, it's really heartwarming."

Miriam also describes the many challenges facing the wives of reservists who have been called up for duty: "Every woman whose husband is in reserves has a technical challenge - all of the things that he does, and the complexity of being without a husband, him coming home isn't on the horizon and you can't ask him - what keeps you going is knowing the importance of the war and how significant it is to be part of our nation. You cannot think that my husband would not be one of those fighting - it's our obligation. Even after he was injured, we speak about when he will be able to go back, and that's what encourages him, that he will be able to return to fighting, together with the rest of our nation - to fight the evil which does not want Jews here."

Gilad concludes, "Thanks be to G-d for all of the miracles He did for me and in general for all of the miracles in the war - the articles cannot express it. Thanks to my wife for this entire period and for her pushing me to return to the battlefield whenever I am able to - I really appreciate her for that."