An elite infantry officer who was the most critically wounded IDF soldier from Operation Protective Edge has passed away.
Maj. Hagai Ben Ari, of the tiny village of Nov on the southern Golan Heights, died Tuesday at the age of 31 after two and a half years in a coma, the IDF said in a statement early Wednesday.
He leaves behind a wife and three children.
Ben Ari volunteered to join the Paratroopers Brigade forces sent into Gaza during the summer 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. He was already a captain at the time, and was head of training for the elite Maglan unit.
Shortly before the Gaza war, he was chosen to command the Paratroopers’ most prestigious unit, the brigade’s sayeret, or reconnaissance company.
He was critically wounded on July 21, 2014 and never regained consciousness.
His funeral will take place Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the cemetery closest to Nov, in the adjacent village of Haspin.