Sergeant Sahar Elbaz will receive a citation from the IDF chief of staff after he faced an attack by five heavily armed terrorists on his own and killed four of them in a battle in Rafah during Operation Protective Edge.
The story of 20-year-old Elbaz's bravery is only now coming to light, after his name appeared among those receiving military decorations for their actions during the summer war in Gaza.
Elbaz is a lone soldier, who arrived in Israel on his own from the US two and a half years ago and joined the IDF's Givati Brigade, where he served as a combat soldier in the Rimon commando unit.
During the ground operation in the Strip, when he was in the Rafah area with his unit, five terrorists armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked the building Elbaz and his fellow soldiers were in, and started firing heavily at the troops.
The unit's commander ordered his fighters to take cover, but Elbaz ignored this order, pressed against the wall near one of the building's windows and returned fire at the charging terrorists.
During the firefight, Elbaz was able to overcome a jam in his weapon, kept shooting and killed four of the terrorists. The fifth was killed by another soldier in a nearby building.
"I had eye contact with one of the terrorists and his look told me - 'it's either you or me,'" Elbaz told his friends after the firefight. "The thought that went through my mind was that if I don't kill them - they'll kill me."
For his bravery, resourcefulness and fortitude, Elbaz will receive the chief of staff's citation, and will be one of only four soldiers who fought in Protective Edge to receive that honor.
Elbaz's friends describe him as a modest guy who doesn't boast about his act of bravery.
A Givati commander said Thursday that "Sahar's story will be taught at commanders' courses for many years to come."
Elbaz's parents moved to the US over 20 years ago. His father Shimon, a businessman, served as a combat engineering company commander. His mother Ilana is a teacher.
The family lives in California, but the distance from Israel did not extinguish the fire of Zionism burning in their bones. Elder daughter Rotem, 23, also came to Israel to serve in the IDF.
Sahar, who was born in the US, decided to follow his sister's footsteps. He came to Israel and settled in Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak in southern Israel. He is currently undergoing squad commanders' course.
Younger sister Zohar, 17, also plans to join the IDF when she graduates high school.
The news of Sahar's citation came as a surprise to his family. "Sahar didn't mention it at all, he didn't tell us anything about his act of bravery," Shimon, his father, said.
"I didn't think I was raising a hero, Sahar is still my little boy. We live near Hollywood, and Sahar's performance in this battle is Hollywood-worthy," Ilana, his mother, said.
One of Sahar's friends added, "The parents of the soldiers who will be under Sahar's command can rest easy knowing what a commander their son has."