Many Americans have served in the IDF, making an important contribution to Israel’s security. Even though every soldier has a story, the story of Izzy Ezagui is especially inspiring, and CAMERA-supported group Realize Israel hosted Izzy at New York University last month and heard his story first hand.
Izzy was born in New York and was raised in Miami, and he enlisted in the IDF at 18. He fought during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, and during the operation he was seriously injured. As a result of his injury, he had to have his arm amputated below the elbow. While understandably many would be broken by losing a limb, Izzy was determined to return and continue serving in his combat unit, despite the fact he only had one fully functioning arm. He managed to get accepted back into his unit and returned to full IDF service; running, crawling, jumping and shooting a gun, despite his disability.
Izzy’s story of determination, courage, and dedication to the Jewish State is inspiring to Israel’s supporters, but is also inspiring to people with disabilities, as he demonstrates how one can overcome adversity and continue to live and thrive. For this reason, Realize Israel partnered with the Disabilities Student Union to host this event, and members of the union were also inspired by Izzy’s incredible story.
Izzy has now completed his IDF service, finishing with a rank of First Sergeant, and has returned to live in the US. But his work for Israel continues on campuses, as he shares the story of Israel, and of one Israeli soldier, inspiring students around the country.
Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern.