Nine years ago Wednesday, Operation Cast Lead was launched by Israel in response to the increased number of rocket attacks on southern Israeli communities. During the operation, 336 soldiers were injured, including Ran Elia. Today, Ran is an electrical engineer and continues his rehabilitation process with the help of Beit Halochem.
Ran before the operation
Operation Cast Lead broke out on December 27, 2008. For many people, it is just another military operation; for others, it was a dramatic turning point in their lives. 336 soldiers were wounded in Operation Cast Lead. Ran Elia was one of them.
It was the last day of the operation. The IDF Paratroopers Brigade’s Battalion 101 soldiers were in the heart of Gaza when Ran was severely injured and nearly died. He was rescued under heavy fire and medevacked. Ran’s left leg was amputated and the right leg was also badly maimed.
Ran in India on a Beit Halochem trip
“I was soon to be discharged and when the war started, we entered Gaza on the outskirts of Jabalya,” he recalled. “Midway, our unit came under a mortar attack. I felt it in slow motion. I fell to the ground and I couldn’t move. I won’t say that my life flashed before my eyes but I felt that it was the end. I looked up and I couldn’t move, and I realized… it’s over. I woke up a month later in the hospital. My body was riddled with shrapnel. The nerves in my right hand were shot. Drop foot in my right leg, a sense of numbness, a fracture and lots of things.”
Ran after the operation
Ran, who is now a 30-year-old electrical engineer from Ramat Gan, joined Beit Halochem in Tel Aviv and takes part in many of the young veterans’ activities. He recently joined the swimming team and trains regularly. The camaraderie he found at Beit Halochem has been so valuable and instrumental in his rehabilitation process.
It is thanks to sponsors and supporters of Beit Halochem that doors opened for Ran, and today he works at Mellanox Technologies.
Ran in India with Beit Halochem
Operation Cast Lead broke out in response to a sharp increase in the number of rocket attacks aimed at Israel prior to and following the expiration of Hamas’ agreed period of “calm.” The Israeli Air Force launched the operation, consisting initially of airstrikes against Hamas security installations, personnel and other facilities in the Gaza Strip, and the ground operations followed. Hostilities between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists continued through January 18, 2009, and the Israeli withdrawal of troops was completed on January 21, 2009.