kaplan hospital volunteer 248.88.
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The civilian most seriously wounded in last winter's IDF offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip - 30-year-old Eran Weiss - has returned to Rehovot's Kaplan Medical Center after months of hospitalization and rehabilitation to volunteer in the trauma unit.
Weiss, an Ashdod resident who was rushed barely alive to the emergency room on December 29, 2008, was received with much emotion by Kaplan staffers on Sunday, to learn how to be a volunteer.
After having been wounded by a terrorist missile from Gaza along with two sisters standing at a bus station (one of whom died during surgery), Weiss underwent a long series of operations to remove shrapnel from various parts of his body and then was discharged and sent for rehabilitation as an outpatient.
After feeling much better, he said he was interesting in helping out at Kaplan because of what the hospital had done to save his life. He said that Dr. Yoram Klein, head of the emergency room, had received him in extremely serious condition and was devoted to him, along with the rest of the staff.
"This is the most suitable place for me to volunteer," he said.
Iris Madmon, one of the surgical department nurses, said she was very excited and moved to see Weiss return with a smile on his face and walking on his own two feet.
"His recovery and rehabilitation were very fast due to his unbelievable determination, and now he will help us cope with other injured," the nurse said to Weiss, who was greeted with flowers and a giant welcome sign.
Meanwhile, exactly a year after IDF ground forces entered Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (Israel Beiteinu) visited two soldiers still hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, which treated 54 soldiers wounded in the war and is still treating five of them.
One of the soldiers, Dvir Bar-Hai, was injured exactly a year ago, on January 3, 2009. Sheba doctors said on Sunday - during Ayalon's visit - that Bar-Hai was progressing well and that finally the staff were talking about discharging him for rehabilitation.
Also visited was Najam Wahel, a Druse soldier who was so seriously wounded in the war that his survival is regarded as a "miracle."
The staff still don't know when Wahel, who was hurt by "friendly fire" and is in a wheelchair, will be released.
Ayalon referred to the Grad rocket that hit the South a few days ago, saying: "Today, a year after Cast Lead, there is relative quiet in the South. Unfortunately, there are still exceptions, and therefore this government's policy should be such that for every terrorist attack there will be a price tag and a tough reaction such that the other side will not consider another terrorist attack."
"Operation Cast Lead proves that deterrence works. However, there remains a problem with the violation of international agreements in the south and north by terrorist groups, such as the continued smuggling of weapons," Ayalon said.