The Most Seriously Wounded Female Soldier

March 15, 2024

In Sheba’s Returning to Life Rehabilitation Center, amidst the stories of resilience and recovery, one individual stands out — Gaya Zubery, a paramedic in the IDF and the sole female soldier in the rehabilitation ward.

On December 7, during crossfire in Shejaiya, one of Hamas’ strongholds, Gaya, a 20-year-old paramedic for the 188th Armored Brigade’s 53rd Battalion, received an emergency call for medical assistance. A tank explosion claimed the lives of two tank soldiers: Master Sgt. Naftali Yonah Gordon, 32 on the left and Sgt. First Class Omri Rot, 25, and caused severe injuries among the surviving tank crew.

As Sgt. Gaya Zubery ran over to help treat the wounded, she was shot in the leg.

Another medic ran to Zubery to carry her out of harm’s way, but when he tried to pick her up, he noticed he couldn’t feel his hand — he, too, had been seriously wounded, and would be unable to pick up Zubery. Another soldier came to help and she was put on a stretcher, under the watch of another female paramedic in the unit, Sgt. Noy.

As reported in the “Times of Israel”, Zubery remembered asking, “Noy, if you can, take off my tourniquet, I don’t want to lose my leg.” Noy, in turn, gave Zubery a strong painkiller, wishing her “Sweet dreams, my beauty,” Zubery recounted with a smile.

Brought to Sheba Medical Center, Zubery underwent surgeries and treatments. Initially confined to a wheelchair, she began walking again just one month later. The rehabilitation team at Sheba was continually impressed with her determination to heal as she completed a combination of therapies including hydrotherapy, virtual reality simulation, and various physical and occupational exercises. Throughout the ensuing weeks, the team witnessed the remarkable pace of Zubery’s recovery.

Gaya’s path is set against the backdrop of a broader societal shift within the IDF. The ongoing conflict in Gaza has prompted an unprecedented mobilization of female combat troops, challenging traditional gender norms within the military. The integration of women into combat roles, while met with initial resistance from some, reflects the evolving dynamics of the IDF and its pursuit of inclusivity and diversity.

As we witness Gaya Zubery’s journey from the battlefield to rehabilitation, we are reminded of the multifaceted nature of heroism. Her story is not just about overcoming physical injuries but also about challenging stereotypes and breaking barriers.

In the bustling corridors of the Returning to Life Rehabilitation Center, Gaya Zubery’s presence speaks of triumph, determination, and a spirit that refuses to be diminished by the wounds of war.

Am Yisrael Chai


P.S. If you want to meet with Israel’s female heroes on and off the battlefield, join us on our Women’s Mission, March 31 to April 4. More information can be found here or email

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