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Seen Left to right: Shimon Elbaz, Sahar Elbaz, Ilana Elbaz and Eva Cohen of the LIBI Fund

Last night’s IDF citation ceremony at the Palmahim Air Force Base 67 medals were handed out to recognized the bravery of IDF soldiers and officers who exemplified courage during Operation Protective Edge, including American born lone soldier, Sahar Elbaz, 20 from California.

Elbaz joined the IDF two and a half years ago and was recruited to the elite Givati Brigade. Just days ago, when Lieutenant Colonel Eva Cohen Chief of the LIBI unit, realized that all the other soldiers would have their families present at the ceremony, she immediately thought of lone soldier Elbaz.

“Shimon and Ilana were ecstatic when I called them in Los Angeles and invited them, to surprise Sahar for the citation ceremony” Cohen said. “I am so happy we were able to make sure they were there. They were so proud to see their son’s dedication and bravery recognized by Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.”

During the recent Gaza War, Sgt. Sahar Elbaz came under attack by five heavily armed terrorists. His commander ordered him to take cover and protect himself, yet Elbaz returned fire, killing four of the terrorists.  By risking his own life, Sahar’s bravery saved the lives of his fellow soldiers for which he received the IDF’s citation of bravery, “Tzalash HaRamatkal.”

Shimon Elbaz showed immense gratitude towards LIBI. He explained that, “The ceremony was amazing. We were really excited to see Sahar. It was a very emotional experience. It was a big surprise. LIBI has been so amazing and helpful. I am very thankful to them”

Sahar, who was born to Israeli parents Shimon and Ilana Elbaz, was raised in California and has been a Zionist from birth. After finishing high school he immediately moved to Israel to join an IDF elite unit, Givati Brigade.

“Our motto is ‘They Support Us, We Support Them’ and so it was a distinct honor for LIBI USA to bring Sahar’s parents for this special ceremony,” said LIBI USA Vice Chairman and treasurer, Shimshon Erenfeld.

LIBI USA is a non-profit organization that provides for the social, religious and education needs of Israeli soldiers. As a volunteer organization with minimal overhead, over 95% of the money donated to LIBI USA goes directly to the IDF. To make a donation, click here.


Seen above: IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz (6R) and Defense Minister Moshe Boogie Yaalon (7R) with Israeli soldiers during a grant decorations, citations ceremony at the Palmachim Airbase on Feb 2, 2015, With over 50 officers, NCOs, and soldiers (active duty and reserves) – including four women – who fought in this summer’s “OperationProtectiveEdge”. Photo by IDF Spokesperson