hizbullah flag 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
As Tomer Weinberg lay bloodied and barely conscious among the ruins of his IDF Hummer, he knew that his Hizbullah attackers were close by.
Suffering from arm, leg and chest wounds, Weinberg had given the hummer's driver his gun. When he heard Arabic coming from the other side of the smoke that engulfed him, Weinberg turned to the driver and made him promise that his fellow reservist would shoot him dead rather than let him be taken hostage.
But it didn't come to that. Weinberg managed to crawl 25 meters away from the scene of the attack and take cover behind some bushes. There he waited 40 minutes for a rescue squad to come to his aid, though it took another 20 minutes under enemy fire for him to be extricated from the scene.
Two other members of the hummer corps, Elad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, weren't so fortunate. They have been held by Hizbullah since they were captured in the raid last Wednesday.
Since then, Weinberg, has spent the week hospitalized. This Wednesday his father Yitzhak, who was visiting him at Haifa's Rambam hospital, retold the story that he had heard from his son. When he described his son's preference that he die rather than be kidnapped by Hizbullah, he began to cry.
Yitzhak Weinberg first heard of the attack while biking in Rosh Pina, not far from the family's home. He was listening to the radio through his headphones when he heard of an incident along the Lebanese border in Dareit, where he knew his son was serving his last day of reserve duty. But he didn't receive any definitive information until his daughter called. They went to the hospital still unaware of the soldier's condition.
It turned out that one bullet had entered and exited Weinberg's chest without doing harm and another had lodged in his calf. The real damage was done to his right forearm, which was shattered.
Even though the damage was significant, advanced surgery holds the promise of saving his arm. Weinberg has already lost 9 millimeters off the length of his arm and is scheduled to need a year of follow-up procedures, but he should eventually regain full use of his arm.
A British delegation from ORT, an international network of Jewish schools, happened to come across Yitzhak Weinberg while on a visit to Rambam Hostpial Wednesday. By chance, Tomer Weinberg is studying mechanics at ORT Braude College in Karmiel.
The ORT delegation heard that in order for Weinberg to recover, he must exercise his fingers. When the group learned that typing on a computer would be one way to do that, they arranged to have a laptop delivered to his hospital room within 24 hours.
"It's important to start right away [with the therapy], and we didn't want to waste any time," said Judah Harstein, head of Jewish education for World ORT.
He added that encountering the Weinbergs in the hospital really "brings home" the current reality faced by Israelis. "It makes it so personal. You see it on TV. You hear it on the radio. But when you meet the people, it gives a whole new dimension to the issue."