Famed Israel Defense Forces veteran Brig. Gen. (res.) Avigdor Kahalani was discharged Thursday from Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, where he had been treated for a serious Group A streptococcal infection.
Kahalani was hospitalized last month, with his life initially feared to be in danger.
Kahalani’s son Dror said at the time that his father had suffered from intense back pain and that some time had passed before they realized it was a bacterial infection.
Exiting the hospital Thursday, Kahalani said: “I came in resembling a dead person, and now I’m alive.”
“I am sitting, smiling, happy to be leaving the hospital today after three weeks of very painful treatment,” he said, praising the hospital’s staff.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed Kahalani’s release, tweeting: “The hero of Israel has won this battle as well. In the name of our entire nation, I wish you Shana Tova (happy Jewish new year).”
Kahalani, 77, a former commander of the IDF’s 7th Armored Brigade, fought in several wars, was injured in battle during the Six Day War in 1967, and received the Medal of Valor — the highest Israeli military decoration — for his role in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
After ending a decades-long military career in 1989, Kahalani joined the Labor party and became a Knesset member in 1992. After trying and failing to become Tel Aviv mayor, he left Labor in 1995 and reentered Knesset a year later as the head of The Third Way, a centrist party.
He was public security minister during Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.
Kahalani quit politics after failing to be reelected to Knesset in 1999, and headed the United for Israel’s Soldiers nonprofit from 2007 to 2015.