Mountain climber Nadav Ben-Yehuda placed a national flag given to him by
President Shimon Peres on top of Kazbek Mountain in Eastern Georgia over the
Ben-Yehuda recently was awarded the President’s Prize in
recognition of his humane action of putting the saving of human life ahead of
his ambition to be the youngest Israeli to reach the peak of Mount Everest. In
May, he saved the life
of Aydin Irmak, a Turkish mountain climber who had lost
consciousness on the way down from Everest while Ben-Yehuda was nearing the
He revived the man and carried him a considerable distance on his
back. In the process he suffered severe frostbite, and at one stage, it was
thought that he might lose some of his fingers.
Everest did not deter Ben-Yehuda from aiming for other heights, and at the end
of last week, he scaled the 5,042-meter Kazbek Mountain in Eastern
The climb was also a means of testing the strength of his right
hand that was hurt during the rescue operation on Mount Everest.
extremely cold on the Georgian mountain, and Ben- Yehuda, in reporting to Peres
said that on the first two nights his hand had been very painful, but afterwards
he devised a number of gimmicks to keep it warm, and the pain subsided. It was
not a pleasant sight, he said, to see his hand turning blue.
had prepared himself up for returning to the foot of the mountain if things
became too tough for him, but he made sure that he did not convey this in his
Nonetheless, he was very tense throughout the climb, and
when he showed other climbers photographs of the damage that had been caused to
his hand on Everest, they were incredulous, and could not get over the fact that
he was climbing again so soon.
After conquering Kazbek, and placing the
flag that Peres had given him as a good luck symbol, at the top of the mountain,
Ben-Yehuda said it also symbolized all the good things that happened to him in
Israel following his return from Everest.
Peres said that he was proud of
Ben-Yehuda, and proud of the strength of his spirit, his determination, and his
love for the country. In wishing him a happy and healthy year, the president
also wished him the ability to conquer new heights.