At age 19, American-born Izzy Ezagui immigrated from the US to Israel and joined the Israeli Defense Forces. His dream was to defend and protect the Jewish homeland.
In 2008, after months of mortar attacks on Israeli cities from Gaza, Israel made the decision to fight back and launched “Operation Cast Lead.”
During that conflict, Izzy was deployed to the front lines. He told 700 Club Terry Meeuwsen that he sustained serious injuries when a mortar hit the tent he was in. He lost his left arm – his dominant arm – above the elbow.
After months of recovery and rehabilitation, Izzy weaned himself off heavy painkillers, got back in shape and did the unimaginable: he returned to active duty in the IDF, becoming the world’s only one-armed Special Forces sharpshooter.
He said he was motivated to go back to active duty because of his love for Israel. “I don’t want my people to suffer. I know the story of the Jews and their travails over the years. That is what has motivated me to fight on the side of the Israelis.
He recalled that the incident that led to his hand being amputated was unimaginable. “I don’t know if I can explain what I went through. I went through that mental process that made me resolve to go back to my duty post. Immediately after the surgery I grabbed the surgeon and pleaded with him to return my hand but that was impossible. But I soon got over the trauma and I knew immediately that I would go back to my duty post. My main motivation is to protect Israel since I have an understanding of the history of the Jewish people. Right from when I was a kid, I had learnt the story of the Jews through Bible reading and I feel obliged to fight on their side.”