Maayan Rotenberg, 18, an Israeli soldier wounded last week in a training accident, died Friday, Nov. 30, 2007, but he will continue to help people in death, as he did in life, as an organ donor.
With his and his family’s consent, his liver, heart, and lungs were immediately donated to ailing people in Israel. His kidney was flown to Germany, where it was transplanted into a critically ill person. His corneas likely will be used this week. The Israel Defense Forces encourages organ donations according to this article on the IDF website.
Rotenberg, the first Israeli-born child of American immigrants, lived on Kibbutz Beit Haemek in the Western Galilee, where he will be buried.
Military Police are investigating the addicent. Rotenberg apparently was inside the tank conducting a routine inspection when his head got crushed between the tank’s turret and gun. The accident occurred at the Shizafon base in Israel’s Arava desert. It was apparently the result of a technical failure, according to Hebrew media reports.
His brother, Ilan, told Israeli media he did not blame the Army, and that accidents happen.
“What is important to me is that the Army learns from these accidents and will watch over the soldiers,” Ilan said. “The family is able to accept that their child was killed in a war or an attack, but in an accident, no.
The family initially had little hope he would survive the accident.
“When they called us up to Sorokin Hospital we were pessimistic,” Ilan said. “But he was fighting. He was moving his hands. He even heard us. He pressed my hand three times strongly and that was the way he left us – his two brothers and father.”
Rotenberg went into his military service five months ago and he was a good soldier, and struggled initially, but passed his training period successfully. He studied electronics and loved all sports.
“Maayan had signed his organ donation card. Of course, they asked us first, but we were clear that he wanted to help people and we instantly agreed,” Ilan Rotenberg said.
Rotenberg’s death was the third in IDF training or operations in the last three weeks.