Dor Gave Kfir the Gifts of Breath and Life

May 31, 2024

On April 18th, fourteen IDF soldiers and four civilians were wounded in a Hezbollah drone and anti-tank missile attack on Arab al-Aramshe, a Bedouin village in the Western Galilee south of the Lebanese border.
IDF Maj. Dor Zimel, a deputy company commander in the 8103rd Battalion of the IDF’s Etzioni Brigade 27, was seriously wounded in the attack and succumbed to his wounds a few days later.

Maj. Zimel had proposed to his girlfriend Shir Sagiv on an unannounced day off from reserve duty in late October 2023 and had a wedding planned for this June. The engagement ring Dor gave to Shir was donated in memory of Adir Mesika, who was murdered at the Nova music festival when he charged Hamas terrorists to save the lives of his friends. Dor Zimel and Adir Mesika, were from the same town of Even Yehuda.

Adir had been continuing his family’s jewelry design business, and the family decided to give free engagement rings designed by Adir to soldiers to honor the memory of their murdered son. Dor Zimel was killed a month before he was to stand under the chuppah, with the ring designed by Adir Mesika on the hand of his bride.

Maj. Zimel was not done serving and saving. He had signed an organ donation card and his family decided to honor his wishes to save other people’s lives. His organs went to seven other people across Israel, including a recipient at Sheba Medical Center in what is believed to be a first in the world. That involved an IDF tank soldier named Kfir Zar.

Kfir Zar’s tank was hit by a rocket in Gaza and the resulting fire severely burned him and badly damaged his lungs. He was treated at a different hospital for the burns as well as a fungal infection he picked up in Gaza. However, despite intensive treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, his lungs were not healing, and in fact were degrading.

He was transferred to Sheba and put on an ECMO machine – a heart-lung machine.

After three months on the ventilator, he was making no progress, and the only hope was a double lung transplant, which has never been done into a soldier wounded in war.

Then Maj. Dor Zimel’s lungs arrived at Sheba.

At the very same time Dor’s parents were burying their beloved son, Kfir underwent surgery under the direction of Dr. Liran Levy, head of Sheba’s lung transplantation department. Dor’s lungs now breathe through Kfir’s body.

Kfir and his family met Dor’s bereaved parents for the first time this past Friday, May 24 at Sheba. Yosef Zar, Kfir’s father, said, “The meeting was so emotional for both sides. Kfir thanked them for their ultimate sacrifice.” Kfir added: “With every breath I take, I will perpetuate his memory and continue on his path in every opportunity.”

Dr. Levy is now in Rafah, on the right, serving his second tour of duty as a volunteer physician.

Israel and Israelis live through incredible overlapping circles of loss and triumph, pain and joy, shared sadness and shared celebration.

It is our honor, privilege and responsibility to support and back Israel and Israelis through this crisis.

Am Yisrael Chai


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