Israeli flag raised on Mt. Kazbek
by Peter Lyukimson, Israel. Exclusively for VK
24-year old climber Nadav Ben-Yehuda has raised the flag of Israel Mt. Kazbek, the east most 5000-meter mountain of the Caucasus on the Russian-Georgian border.
Ben-Yehuda was to become the youngest climber of Israel in May by climbing Mt. Everest. Ben-Yehuda found 46-year old Aydan Ilmak who lost his oxygen mask and was in grave condition 250 meters away from the peak. “Journalists were writing later that I had a choice to continue climbing or help Aydan. This is foolishness! If you are a man, you have no choice in such situation. It was bad that Aydan coul not move on his own, so I had to tie him to myself to start descending. I had to take the gloves off for that”, Ben-Yehuda recalls.
The Israeli climber said that he was descending from a height of over 8500 meters, carrying the Turkish alpinist on his back and giving him the oxygen mask. When both were taken to Katmandu, doctors stated that Nadav Ben-Yehuda had four fingers and two toes frozen. Local doctors wanted to amputate them, but the young Israeli climber insisted that he should be taken to an Israeli hospital as soon as possible. A few months after, Ben-Yehuda started training again. He did not quit his dream of climbing the Everest, but he decided to try himself out on smaller mountains first.
Israeli President Shimon Peres awarded him with the Order of Merit for saving the Turkish climber in early September. Having learned that Nadav was planning to visit Georgia to climb Mt. Kazbek, Shimon Peres awarded him with an Israeli flag to raise it on the legendary Caucasus mountain. “To be honest, climbing Kazbek was not that easy. I often had the idea of turning back, especially after being persuaded by friends and doctors that the risk was not worth it and if I fail to climb Kazbekit would not be a defeat. But, as you see, I fulfilled the president’s order and raised the flag. Soon after the climb, a met Turkish soldiers and officers of the peacekeeping force there. They recognized me according to photos in Turkish papers and called my name. We hugged each other like brothers. It was a damn good encounter! It is great that political disagreements had no impact on relations between our peoples...” Nadav said on his return to Israel.