Monday, March 9, 2009
Critically Wounded Bridegroom Returns to IDF for a Day, Promoted to Lieutenant!
Critically Wounded Soldier-Groom Returns to Army for a Day
by Hillel Fendel
(IsraelNN.com) Aharon Karov was promoted to Lieutenant in a moving IDF ceremony last week – just weeks after he hovered between life and death following multiple wounds, mostly in the head, which he suffered during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
Karov made headlines at the time not only because of his very critical condition, but also because of the timing: He arrived at the front the day after his wedding.
An officer in the Paratroopers Brigade, Aharon – his full Hebrew name is Aharon Yehoshua ben Chaya Shoshana – was the commander of a combat company in northern Gaza.
His soldiers were recognized at the Thursday ceremony in Beit Lid, near Netanya, for completing a portion of their combat training, and the organizers took the opportunity to invite Karov and promote him. Though it was not clear whether he would be able to make it -- he came, wore his uniform, and even gathered his soldiers together and thanked them. His wife Tzivia pinned the stripes on his shoulder, and the soldiers, officers and the visiting parents applauded and cheered him for several long minutes.
"Everyone who was there was very moved," his father Rabbi Ze’ev Karov told Israel National News on Sunday.
Off to War Right After Wedding
On Friday morning, Dec. 26, just hours after his wedding, Aharon was called up to the army -- for the second time that week -- for a briefing. He returned for the festive post-wedding Sheva Brachot Sabbath just 15 minutes before sundown, and was then called up once again on Saturday morning. Less than three days later, he was critically wounded in a booby-trapped house in Gaza, and was flown to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tivkah, where he underwent six operations in the course of 12 hours: on his head, his eyes, ear-nose-throat, mouth and jaw, chest, and an orthopedic operation.
Over the past five weeks, Karov has made what observers and doctors alike called nothing less than a miraculous recovery. Though he still tires relatively easily and has some difficulty speaking, he walks on his own and “improves and gets stronger day by day,” Rabbi Karov said. Asked why newspaper photographs of the event showed a wheelchair, Rabbi Karov laughed and said, “It wasn’t for him; it was for another soldier who had just undergone an operation.”
“We still don’t know the full extent of his strengths and his abilities,” his father said. “It’s just a few weeks after he suffered very, very serious injuries, and that is understating the case -- and we continue to be surprised all the time. His arm, for instance, which was hit by hundreds of pieces of shrapnel, is slowly returning to full functioning, and the same is true of his speech, with G-d’s help. We are truly amazed and thankful at the amazing miracles that we have seen.”
The recuperation period continues mostly in the hospital, from Sunday to Thursday, while Aharon spends the other days at home.