Battalion Commander Compelled to Return to Rehab

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Battalion commander Lt.-Colonel Oren Cohen was seriously injured in Gaza on January 5th when an IDF tank fired on the Golani force, believing the soldiers were terrorists. Three were killed in the mistaken fire incident and others wounded, including the commander. He was air-lifted to Tel Aviv’s Tel Hashomer Hospital with multiple shrapnel injuries; including serious injuries to he left shoulder and right hand, as well as sustaining significant hearing loss.

Amazing the medical team, the next day he insisted on being transported to the funerals of his soldiers, members of the Golani Brigade’s 13th battalion. When IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gabi Ashkenazi visited Cohen in hospital, he insisted on getting out of bed, wearing his uniform shirt over one shoulder and saluting his commander with his left hand upon his entry to the room.

He fought and worked hard to return to his troops and did just that, about six weeks after being injured, heading directly to Gaza with a hearing impairment and a non-functioning right hand, seeking to set an example for his troops.

Today however, Cohen’s body is dictating different realities, and doctors explained he must undergo about six hours of daily rehabilitation to bring his hand, shoulder and hearing back to operational capacity. Cohen realizes that he cannot serve in an active post while undergoing the therapy and as such, he is stepping down, with plans to return this summer to a new post, head of the brigade’s reconnaissance battalion. Lt.-Colonel Avinoam Stolovitz will replace Cohen as the new commander of Golani’s 13th battalion.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)