Leaving Gaza Forever Changed: Testimony from Injured IDF Soldiers

On April 10, our student-led Heifers for Israel Club warmly welcomed two Israeli soldiers, Lior and Yuval, who sustained injuries during their service in the ongoing conflict in Gaza. They participated in a lunchtime learning session open to all students, faculty, and staff, and engaged in insightful discussions with several Hebrew classes.

Lior, who was out of the country with his family during the attacks of October 7, recounted immediately heading back to Israel to serve as an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reserve officer in the paratroopers. He shared his firsthand insights from the front lines, recounting his experience of being among the first soldiers to enter Gaza and his dedication to defending Israel and its people despite the territory being dominated. He also spoke about his twin brother, Alon Cohen, who was severely injured in combat, after entering Gaza two months after him. The original plan was for Alon to join him in the United States to share his story, but due to his ongoing recovery process, he was unable to make it.

Yuval, who served in a different unit of the same brigade, vividly described the impact of conflict in Gaza and the feelings of uncertainty after he responded to an early morning phone call to begin service in the reserves. He recounted his understanding that a difficult mission was ahead, describing the intensity of each day as many soldiers in his unit were injured.

As the floor opened to a Q&A session, students deeply engaged with Lior and Yuval, expressing appreciation for them taking the time to share such challenging experiences. Students asked a range of questions about their prior service in the IDF, their experiences returning home to Israel amidst the chaos, and their perspectives on the future of the war and the state of Israel.

Thank you to Heifers for Israel for providing such a unique opportunity to connect the Gann community with the ongoing realities of the war.

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