For Shoval, It Was Seconds and Inches

June 7, 2024

Like the story of so many soldiers in Sheba’s “Returning to Life” Department, Shoval Kabir’s story includes both heroism and the luck of split seconds and inches.

On October 7th Shoval was traveling in the Sinai in Egypt. He rushed back to Israel and within hours was in his uniform and equipment and on his way to help fight off Hamas at Kibbutz Be’eri with his reserve team.

Shoval’s division – 6646 Reconnaissance Paratroopers, then joined the ground operation early. He was fighting in Khan Yunis in the south-central Gaza Strip on January 30 and was on a mission to search and secure a building suspected to be held by Hamas.

During the search, Shoval was the second to go up into the building behind his commander Maj. Gabriel Shani, called “Shoshani” by the men under his command. They moved into the second floor of the house and suddenly two terrorists that were hiding behind a curtain began to fire on them. Shoval got one bullet to his hip and one bullet to his stomach that was blocked by the ceramic vest and his weapon’s magazine.

Shoval fell down immediately, wounded and bleeding, and called out to his commander, who did not respond. As Shoval and Shoshani lay on the floor in the middle of the house, the rest of the team started to come up the stairs to fight the two Hamas guys. The exchange of gunfire prevented the team from evacuating the two wounded soldiers.

As Shoval lay on the floor, bleeding and having trouble moving, watching a whole battle happening literally above his head, he had the feeling that this was the end for him. Then he saw one of the Hamas terrorists throw a grenade at the two of them.

Instantly Shoval rolled toward the grenade and threw it back at the terrorists, killing one of them. The explosion offered his team a few clear seconds to act and drag him a level down in the building.

As the team tried to rescue Shoshani as well, another grenade was thrown by the remaining terrorist and another soldier, Sgt Maj. Yuval Nir, from Shoval’s team, was killed, along with Shoshani. Both Shoshani and Yuval had young children.

On the left: Major Gabriel “Shoshani” Shani in a selfie he took shortly before being killed.
On the right: Sgt. Major Yuval Nir.

Shoval was evacuated by helicopter to another hospital.

He also understood how lucky he was to be alive.

After two weeks of recovery Shoval had to decide where to do his rehab. Like the majority of wounded soldiers, he chose Sheba.

A good friend of his, Tomer Klein, was injured in the same incident and was in Sheba’s “Returning to Life” Department. Tomer told Shoval about the incredible camaraderie between soldier-patients in “Returning to Life,” so he decided to join Tomer and go through the process with him. Shoval and Tomer had been friends for more than a decade and had been through a lot together, so Shoval thought that being together could be the best thing for his mental rehabilitation as well.

Today, Shoval says that choosing Sheba for his rehabilitation was the best possible decision he could have made. He says that Sheba offers the most professional, most technologically advanced and most careful treatment a wounded soldier can get. “I felt during my in-patient rehab when I was hospitalized and now in my daily outpatient rehab that the medical staff knows what to do with every fear, pain or procedure possible. The doctors, nurses and therapists drive to help was amazing and their appreciation to us as soldiers made the bond between us even stronger.”

Israel’s heroes deserve no less than the best, most dedicated and most loving care. How wonderful that Sheba and its talented and dedicated staff are there to provide it.

And may the children and loved ones of Gabriel Shani and Yuval Nir be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Am Yisrael Chai.


Don't miss out.

Sign up our weekly newsletter for the latest updates on medical advances and humanitarian efforts of Israel.