Israel Honors 31 Heroes Who Put Their Lives on the Line for Society
President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday hosted a Ministry of Public Security prize ceremony for outstanding 31 men and women who were honored for their conduct on behalf of the Israeli public, often while risking their lives.
The honorees, members of the Israel Police, Israel Prison Service, National Authority for Fire and Rescue and Witness Protection Authority, received certificates of commendation or excellence.
One of the recipients is Police Sergeant Major A, whose undercover work led to the identification of suspects involved in terrorist and criminal activity across the country. This required him to work alone and without a weapon or means of communications, relying only on his cover and language skills.
Sergeant Major B’s accurate shooting foiled an attack by a Hamas terror cell on the Gaza border and prevented civilian casualties. He operated in thick smoke, while hand grenades and explosive charges were thrown at his sniper post, with the terrorists moving towards a civilian community with the intention of attacking its residents.
A third honoree, Master Sergeant M, also received a certificate of excellence for operations in Gaza. During disturbances on the border, Hamas launched an attack on Israeli forces that included sniper fire, hand grenades and explosive charges. The Police Special Anti-Terror Unit’s sniper post over the border came under fire, and M identified the sniper and neutralized him while under fire.
Chief Superintendent in the Israel Prison Service Caroline Sadon keeps a firm grip on the wing she runs, whose prisoners include hardened criminals. Recently, an explosive charge was placed on her car and, despite the unnerving incident, she returned to work the next day. She was recognized by the president.
Rivlin recounted some of the stories of everyday excellence being recognized at the ceremony. “Superintendent Guy Gilboa serves in the special police center in Zur Baher in Jerusalem and is responsible for community involvement in the Arab villages of east Jerusalem and for promoting the Arab population. Master Sergeant Ahmed Zuabi brought about the arrest of armed criminals in the Arab population last year. Master Sergeant Linoi Prizat showed great resourcefulness when she helped rescue a family of recent immigrants from Argentina who found themselves in a Palestinian village by mistake, and Fire and Rescue Services Captain Yigal Eliyahu, who has volunteered for nearly 45 years.”
“You, and the other recipients, your bravery, resourcefulness, heroism, determination and devotion are an inspiration to us all,” Rivlin declared.
“You, the people responsible for internal security, are a fundamental element of protecting the rule of law. We all of us salute you for your wide range of responsibilities that bring us together as a people,” he added.
Acting Israel Police Commissioner Maj.-Gen. Moti Cohen noted that “excellence comes in many shapes and forms, but there is no doubting that your excellent work ensures the proper running of society, is the key to our quality of life and is the basis on which the personal security of our citizens rests.”
“Each one of you has your own story of excellence, but you share a common spirit of devotion, professionalism and responsibility that is an inspiration for innumerable and varied operations. You are a group of people infused with a sense of mission, who knows that on your shoulders rests the fate of many people, as well as the image and the values of the society and the state,” he said.
Yoni Skamsky, 44, from Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion and the father of five, was honored for his 12 years of dedicated work as a volunteer with the Gush Etzion emergency rescue unit.
A small expression of Yoni’s commitment and dedication to volunteering in the unit can be found in a week last February in which the unit was deployed five times. In four of them, Yoni commanded the event, which included locating three missing children in the late hours of the night, searching for a missing person in the Jerusalem area, the rescue of a hiker from a Judean riverbed suffering from a complex fracture in his leg, and the identification of a person at risk who threatened suicide. All this occurred in one week.