Congratulations to OTS alumnus Sergeant Asher Katz upon being one of 120 outstanding IDF soldiers to be awarded the President’s Certificate of Excellence on Yom Haatzmaut 2019
Upon graduating from OTS’s Derech Avot High School, Katz enlisted in the Kfir Infantry Brigade and served in the Charuv (Carob) special operations reconnaissance unit. During the course of his training he was injured during Krav Maga practice and lost sight in his right eye. He realized that he lost his vision the next day during range shooting, when he realized that couldn’t see anything through the rifle sight – but he continued on without telling anyone, so as not to lower his medical profile.
Eventually, Katz exchanged his role for a significant position in the Southern Command, but he found himself at a loss in his new surroundings, where all of the people he worked with had already attained their Bachelors degrees. Rather than give up, he chose to enroll in online courses in physics and mathematics which he studied on the weekends – a fitting solution for the young man who acknowledges that his favorite Israeli saying is Herzl’s “If you will it, it is no dream…”
Even while continuing to serve, Katz established a garin (core group) of 30 soldiers who moved together to Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, on the Gaza border, with the specific goal of establishing projects which would improve the lives of kibbutz members and the residents of the embattled southern border. With the dual mandate of safeguarding the homefront while helping it develop,” Katz went on to establish four additional such garinim in the settlements dotting the Gaza border.
The first people that Cohen told about being selected as one of the President’s outstanding soldiers were his grandparents. “My grandfather died one week later,” he relates. He himself was named for his grandfather’s brother, who died on the way to Palestine after the Shoah. “This certificate of excellence was extremely meaningful for our family.”