Israeli soldier saves six lives after falling in Gaza

November 20, 2023

2 min read

IDF Staff Sgt. Yehonatan Yitzhak Semo’s organs were donated to six different patients, including two children.

IDF Staff Sergeant Yehonatan Yitzhak Semo, 21, was wounded in combat in central Gaza on Nov. 10 and evacuated to the Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah, where he later died.

A resident of Karmei Tzur, near Hebron, Semo is survived by four younger siblings.

His organs have been donated to six patients, Israel’s National Transplant Center announced on Sunday.

“There was no hesitation at all about whether to donate his organs. It was Yonatan. He did everything with a smile, out of understanding, commitment and a desire to help. The fact that a part of him will continue to live and help others, there is nothing more uplifting than that,” the Semo family said.

Semo’s lungs were transplanted into 36 year-old Meir Atsaba, also of Kiryat Gat. The father of two had suffered from lung disease which became life-threatening when he contracted coronavirus.

“I am very grateful to the Samo family for doing the most noble thing in their most painful moment. In the midst of this war and the terrible days, I received a ray of light and air to breathe,” said Atsaba.

Israel Defense Forces operate in the Gaza Strip, October, 2023. Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Yaakov Malka, a 46-year-old father of four from Kiryat Gat, received Sam’s heart. He suffered from heart failure and at one point had even received an artificial heart.

“This heart, which was once in the body of the late Jonathan and today beats in the body of Yaakov, is the heart of the State of Israel,” said professor Dan Aravot, the director of Beilinson’s cardiac and thoracic surgery unit, who performed the heart transplant.

Semo’s liver was donated to a 51 year-old patient while the liver lobe was transplanted into an eight-month-old infant.

The kidneys were transplanted into a 10-year-old child and a 50-year-old patient.

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