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Not the "classic" character of a hero. In a momentary decision, Matan jumped on the grenade and saved his friends

Matan Abergil

Matan Abergil was a skinny, small boy with glasses, not the "classic" figure of a hero as presented in the classical hero image. Matan joined the Golani brigade less than a year ago. On Black Sabbath he remained at his base near Gaza. Matan went out to battle with his comrades in the Namer, the Israeli made AFV,  on the morning of Black Saturday. While the force was conducting a shootout against terrorists, the commander of the force got out of the Namer and left the young soldiers alone inside.

The vehicle got stuck and the soldiers were trapped inside. Matan and another soldier continued to fire from inside the Namer. After a few minutes a stun grenade was thrown into the Namer which jolted the soldiers back. Confused and under the fog of war, a live grenade was thrown into the Namer and the soldiers did not even notice it. Matan tried to catch it and failed. The grenade got stuck inside the vehicle near the squadron of the new soldiers. In a split second decision Matan jumped on the grenade and pressed it to his chest. He was killed instantly on the spot and saved his friends.

Most of them were not aware at the time that a grenade had been thrown. The battle was conducted near Kibbutz Nir Am, which in part contributed to the fact there was no terrorist invasion to the Kibbutz. It was one of the few communities that survived the massacre that occurred in the Gaza envelope. Matan showed supreme bravery and saved the lives of his comrades and indirectly the lives of the residents of Niir Am. He fell in a heroic battle at the age of only 19.

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