How a One-Armed American Soldier Fought His Way Back into the Israeli Army


Izzy EzaguiIDF 1st Sgt. Izzy Ezagui, 27, moved to Israel with his family in 2007 and enlisted in the IDF in 2008. While stationed on the Gaza border, a mortar shell hit him, ripping off his dominant left arm, JTA reports.

Izzy says the most challenging element of his recovery was convincing the army to let a one-armed soldier back in. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, then head of the IDF Southern Command, took Ezagui’s aspirations seriously and pushed his request through IDF bureaucracy.

About a year after his injury, the IDF agreed to reinstate Ezagui on one condition: that he pass all the tests combat soldiers take during their training. Ezagui had to complete tasks ranging from climbing a rope to throwing a grenade.

To unpin his grenade with one hand, Ezagui wrapped scotch tape around the pin and pulled it out with his teeth. Ezagui passed all the tests without a hitch and served as an active duty combat soldier.