Former St. Louisan who joined IDF injured in Gaza combat

By Repps Hudson, Special to the Jewish Light

A former St. Louisan who made aliyah in 2012 and joined the Israel Defense Forces was injured early Wednesday in combat operations in Gaza.

Max Levin, 21, was injured by an explosive device during a house-to-house operation in Gaza, Levin’s father said in telephone interview from his home in Belle Canyon, Calif. 

Levin, son of Bernard “Bud” and Judy Levin, is a sergeant in the special Palchan Tzanchanim unit of the IDF’s paratroopers brigade, his father said. The family received a phone call about midnight their time on Tuesday, he said, and a voice on the line told him, “Your son wants to speak with you.”

Sgt. Levin was injured by shrapnel in the head and above his left eye when his unit, which specialized in handling and disarming explosives, were going house to house in Gaza in Operation Protective Edge.

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The younger Levin is in satisfactory condition at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva near Tel Aviv, his father said.

The men came to a house where the door didn’t yield, Levin said his son told him. Then the explosion occurred. 

Three other members of his unit were killed in the incident, Levin said, though his son was not immediately told of their deaths.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the paratroopers, Lt. Paz Eliyahu, Staff Sgt. Li Mat and Staff Sgt. Shahar Dauber “were killed when Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb in their vicinity in the southern Gaza Strip.” 

Cheryl Maayan, head of Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School, the successor to Solomon Schechter, released an email statement about Levin’s injuries: “The Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School family is deeply saddened to hear that a member of our school family, Max Levin, sustained an injury and is in the hospital in Israel. We send our prayers to Max, wishing him a complete and speedy healing of body and spirit. We hope that Max knows there is a community here in St. Louis whose hearts are with him at this time.” 

When the Levin family lived in St. Louis, they were members of Congregation United Hebrew and more recently, Congregation B’nai Amoona.

Bud Levin was CEO of Midwest Petroleum Co. for 30 years and served as chairman of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis campaign. He has long been involved in fundraising for Jewish National Fund.