Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Definition of a Hero defines 'Hero' as:

1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war.

Due to the events of the last week, I could simply define the word as Lieutenant Colonel Ro'ee Klein z"l. The story, which I very much doubt has even reached the media outside of Israel, is one that should be recounted with extreme pride, astonishment and tears of respect. The deputy battalion commander in the 51st Golani infantry battalion lost his life in a way that perhaps only Hollywood could script. In the fierce close quarter fighting in Bint Jbeil, Klein (the most senior soldier in the battle) noticed a grenade thrown at his forces. Realizing there was not enough time to get his soldiers to cover, Klein covered the grenade with his body, taking the brunt of the explosion. Survivors from the battle that claimed 9 soldiers' lives, including Klein's, all recount him screaming 'Hear O' Israel' (Shema Yisrael) as he jumped on the grenade. A hero in every sense of the word. Buried on his 31st birthday, his widow's only wish was that her 2 sons grow up to be similar to their departed father.

This is just one of the many stories of extreme bravery our soldiers have displayed over the past month. In the heat of battle, where split second decisions will often dictate who lives and who dies, Klein's incredible bravery and love for his soldiers dictated that he would return wrapped up in an Israeli flag. May his memory be blessed.

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