(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz on Monday approved the awarding of citations and special commendations to 53 soldiers and officers, as well as medals and special citations for 13 military units, for their service during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip last summer.
The IDF plans to give out four chief of staff citations of merit, three chief of staff commendations, 23 major general citations of merit, 15 brigade commander citations of merit, and 17 division commander citations of merit.
Among those awarded, Givati Brigade Lt. Eitan Fund, who led the attempt to prevent the abduction of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin by Hamas terrorists in a battle near Rafah, was named the recipient of the Medal of Distinguished Service, the highest honor awarded in wake of the Gaza campaign and the military's third-most-important medal after the Medal of Valor and Medal of Courage.
Four women were recognized for their service. Dr. Regina Pikman, serving with the Combat Engineering Corps, will receive a brigade commander's citation of merit. Three other female soldiers, who in separate incidents identified terrorist cells attempting to infiltrate communities near the Israel-Gaza border, will receive letters of appreciation.
The commendations ceremony has been scheduled for Feb. 2.