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IDF Major Roi Klein, zt’l, Nominated for Medal of Valor

by Hana Levi Julian

( IDF Major Roi Klein, zt’l, has been nominated to receive the State of Israel’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor for heroism in the heat of battle.

Major Klein, who volunteered to lead his Golani Brigade Battalion 51 into battle, was killed in the line of duty on July 26, 2006, during last summer’s Second Lebanon War.

While fighting for control of the village of Bint Jbil, Major Klein and his men were ambushed by Hizbullah terrorists. The unit was surrounded, and a terrorist hurled a grenade at the group.

Soldiers from his unit who witnessed the event reported that Roi yelled out “Shema Yisrael” and jumped on the grenade, absorbing the brunt of the explosion and saving all but seven of his men.

The husband and father of two small boys was an acknowledged Torah scholar, superb commander and an accomplished musician in civilian life. His body was buried in Eli, the Samaria community in which he lived, on what would have been his 31st birthday.

The Medal of Valor has been awarded only 41 times in the history of the State and is the sole medal that is bestowed by the Minister of Defense. The last recipient was Brigadier-General (res.) Avigdor Kahalani who commanded Armored Battalion 77 during the Yom Kippur War.

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