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Maj. Ro'i Klein, deputy commander of the Golani Brigade's Battalion 51, who was killed during the Second Lebanon War, has been nominated by the IDF to receive its highest medal, the Medal of Valor. The medal has not been awarded since the Yom Kippur War.
Klein, a husband and father of two from Eli in Samaria, was killed July 26 during a battle in Bint Jbail, southern Lebanon, with Hizbullah fighters. During fierce clashes, a grenade was thrown at a force led by Klein. According to soldiers who witnessed the incident, Klein threw his body over the grenade and absorbed the blast, saving his soldiers' lives. He mustered the strength to shout "Shema Yisrael," traditionally recited by Jewish martyrs.
Seven other soldiers from the battalion were killed during the battle.
Klein was buried in Eli the next day, on what would have been his 31st birthday.
The Medal of Valor was last given to Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avigdor Kahalani for his service as commander of Armored Battalion 77 during the Yom Kippur War.
Only 41 Medals of Valor have been awarded since the establishment of the state. The Medal of Valor is the only medal awarded to a soldier by the defense minister.
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