53 officers, soldiers, other military representatives, and family members of soldiers who fell in battle will be attending a special ceremony this evening (Monday) in recognition of their brave actions during last summer's war against Gazan terrorists.
The awards will be handed out by Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon and outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Benny Ganz, at the Israeli Air Force base at Hatzerim.
The Medal of Courage – Israel's second-highest military honor – will be awarded to Givati Brigade Deputy Commander Eitan, who risked his life by single-handedly pursuing the terrorists who kidnapped Lt. Hadar Goldin through a tunnel inside Gaza.
Another soldier slated to receive a medal is Paratrooper Sergeant Matanya Maguri from Kochav HaShachar in Samaria, who was moderately wounded during battle in Gaza.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva Maguri, who is on temporary leave from the army to recover from his injuries, told how after studying in yeshiva high school in Bet El and yeshiva in Yafo (Jaffa), he enlisted in the elite unit within the Paratrooper Division known as Sayeret Sankhanim. It was as part of that special commando unit that he fought during Operation Protective Edge.
"Four days after the ground entry to Gaza, as we were on the outskirts of Khan Younis and after clearing a house we were struck by a number of terrorists," Maguri recounted. "One of my friends was killed and another was wounded, as was I."
"I found myself wounded in the middle of Khan Younis with no help or reinforcements."
He recalled how he continued to fight while wounded for 40 minutes, during which they came under sustained and heavy fire from the terrorists.
"I kept returning fire, throwing grenades – everything so as not to allow the terrorists to reach the victim's body and to cause more damage again. All that in the heart of an area crawling with terrorists, without any reinforcements arriving."
Asked if he viewed himself as a hero, Maguri answered "no."
"After the war I understood from my commanders that they had recommended me for a citation. All in all, I did what was expected of me," he insisted humbly.
Now, half a year since being wounded in battle, as he continues to receive treatment for his wounds, he will be joining his comrades in receiving that citation for bravery this evening.