Shila Naamat was just one year and eight months old when a rocket from the Gaza Strip hit his home in the southern city of Sderot back in March 2002.
Shrapnel from the rocket moderately wounded Naamat, who was playing on the balcony of the home when the projectile landed, and was evacuated to a hospital in moderate condition
Naamat was the first Israeli civilian in Sderot to be wounded by rockets from the Palestinian enclave.
The incident happened when there was no safe space and bomb shelters on every corner of the bombarded city, including private homes. There were also no rocket alert sirens, and certainly, no Iron Dome that could protect the civilians.
Every Qassam rocket that was fired from the Strip at Sderot in the first few years had fatal and destructive consequences. Residents of the city and other communities near the Gaza border were forced to adapt to a new reality, which sadly continues to this day.
Naamat sustained a major wound to his leg and was fitted with platinum in his leg that has accompanied him all his life. But, he decided his injury will not hold him back. On the contrary, the injury eventually provided him with the needed drive to achieve his life goals - becoming an IDF officer.
"The IDF officer's training meant a lot to me, I learned many things about the IDF command, Israeli society, and of course the security system," Naamat says.
"I have more ambitions and I won't let my injury stop me, I want to reach senior commanding positions, and in the future do some public service, especially for the Israeli periphery."
"Me and my cousin, who is an Israeli Air Force officer, are working with the Sderot Youth Council to open up the young people of Sderot to important and commanding positions in the IDF.
"There are great people in Sderot, and in the periphery, but not all of them have the knowledge and the tools to get on the right path," Naamat adds.
Naamat will finish the officers' training course later this week, and immediately after will undergo a leg surgery on one of the muscles in the injured leg. After the operation, he will return to his military service.
"I hope to recover from the surgery quickly and begin my tenure as the officer. I was able to overcome injures when I was just a toddler, so I can definitely do it now," he says.