“Ever since I had a mind of my own, I knew I would serve my country.”

Major Falah El-Hiyab in his wheelchair

Major Falah El-Hiyab

Major Falah El-Hiyab, an Operations Officer of the Bedouin Tracking Regiment in Gaza and a father of two, was the IDF’s last casualty in Operation Cast Lead.

It happened at 4:30 a.m. on January 27th, 2009. A dense fog blanketed the area making it almost impossible to see. The war in Gaza had ended two days earlier but there were still forces in the area. Falah was on patrol with his unit checking for infiltrators, searching out lethal booby traps and explosive devices. Not more than 15 minutes into the patrol, six explosive devices turned the area into a hailstorm of burning metal and fire.

Severely wounded, Falah and his unit came under further heavy enemy attack. As more forces rushed in to cover them, Falah’s wounds were dressed by a medic and he was evacuated to hospital.

Six surgeries later, Falah’s right leg was amputated. He was also left with limited use of his right hand.

Falah is a Bedouin whose entire family is distinguished for their loyal and courageous service to the State of Israel since pre-1948. His father just recently retired from his position as commander of the Trackers Unit in the Northern Command. Falah still dreams of going back to serve his country despite his physical condition.

Today, he visits Bedouin schools and encourages the children to volunteer in the army, defend their country, their people and our freedom.

Falah frequents Beit Halochem in Haifa, where he receives physiotherapy, occupational and hydro therapy. He also swims and cycles with the hand-biking group, and participates in specialized fitness programs.

Beit Halochem Canada, Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel provides true heroes of Israel like Falah with a broad range of important rehabilitative therapies aimed at healing their injured bodies and broken spirits.