A War Which Never Ended

Golani Brigade insignia

Operation Lead Cast (better known as the Gaza War) ended in December 2008, but for the injured soldiers the war will never end. Ben Spitzer, a soldier in the elite Golani Brigade, was severely injured several days after the war in Gaza began, and was flown by helicopter to Rabin Medical Center. He arrived in critical condition and underwent several life-saving procedures including complicated head surgery and amputation of his right hand in order to save the rest of his arm. After more than a month under the care of Prof. Pierre Singer, head of the Intensive Care Unit, Ben was finally ready to begin the next stage of his long recovery at a rehabilitation facility.

Four months later he is getting stronger by the day, though still unable to walk by himself. Ben is doing physical therapy which hopefully will return the use of his arms and his legs. Today he celebrated his 20th birthday at Rabin Medical Center, in the Department of Neurosurgery, only one day after undergoing cranioplasty. The operation was to replace his frontal bone, which was removed during the previous head surgery which saved his life. The bone had been kept under special conditions in the blood bank until Ben was well enough to have surgery to have it replaced.

To celebrate this special day the staff brought him a beautiful cake, and though very tired from the surgery he made a wish and blew out the candles. His wish was private, but surely he wished to recover and to return home. His father is building a special house where Ben will be able to regain some independence. His father Ofer and his mother Netiva have never left his side since he was injured. For his family Ben has two birthdays, January 5th, 2009, when he was saved from his injuries, and the day he was born, June 4th.

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