Israeli mountain climber Nadav Ben-Yehuda, 24, who rescued the life of a Turkish climber during an excursion on Everest Mountain, will receive a Presidential Medal of Honor during a ceremony at President Shimon Peres' residence in Jerusalem next month.
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Responding to the news, Ben-Yehuda said, "I am surprised, they called me from the president's residence and told me that (Peres) wants to give me the medal of honor, and I'm still trying to convince them to give it up.
I heard about the people who received this medal, and I don't think I am in the same caliber. Some of these people did amazing things," he said.
Ben-Yehuda arrives at Ben-Gurion Airport (Photo: Shaul Golan)
The Israeli climber, who was only 300 meters away from reaching the Everest peak before he noticed his Turkish friend Aydin Irmak lying unconscious on the frozen ground, recounted the rescue operation that risked his own life, saying "I do not struggle with the question of whether it was worth it or not.
Despite the hardship and the fact that he had to give up his dream of being the youngest Israeli to conquer world's highest peak, Ben-Yehuda said on Monday that he has no regrets.
"A person's life, any person's life, is more valuable than anything," he said. "I knew that I might lose my fingers, but that wasn't something I could worry about because that would be immoral."
Ben-Yehuda added that the doctors seem to be optimistic about the fate of his fingers, saying "so far they have had to take off some skin and flesh, but they haven't cut off any bones, so all my fingers are still whole."
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