Heroic Israeli mountain climber scales mountain in Georgia

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli mountain climber who had abandoned his quest to reach the summit of Mount Everest to rescue a Turkish climber climbed up the Kazbek Mountain in eastern Georgia.

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Nadav Ben Yehuda planted an Israeli flag at the summit of the mountain located in the Caucasus mountain range. The flag had been given to him by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who presented Ben Yehuda with the nation’s Presidential Medal of Honor about two months ago.

Ben Yehuda, 24, carried the injured Turkish climber back to the base camp without scaling the last 300 yards to the top of Everest. He would have become the youngest Israeli to reach the mountain’s summit.

Ben Yehuda suffered severe frostbite in his fingers because he removed his gloves to keep a better grip on the injured climber during the rescue.  

“The flag that the president gave me represents all the good that Israel offered me when I returned from Everest,” he told Israeli media after his climb. “Planting it at the peak was my way of thanking the medical team, my family, friends, President Peres and anyone who took an interest in me and supported my endeavor.”

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