Col. Dr. Avi Yitzhak
Recipient of the 2018 Alumni Recognition Award, Chief Medical Officer of
the IDF's Southern Command and a graduate of BGU's Joyce & Irving Goldman
"The moment I made Aliyah on March 3, 1991, during Passover, is what symbolizes Independence and freedom for me.
Immigrating to Israel was for me release from the chains of an oppressive Communist regime in Ethiopia that forced young people to be part of the civil war and to kill other young people.
I felt personal independence in my medical career when I operated on my first patient without the support and guidance of the doctor who mentored me during my internship. Throughout my military career, I faced many difficult challenges, but felt the full weight of responsibility when I was entrusted with medical responsibility for the Southern Command. To this day I try to be worthy of that trust.
In my personal life, I felt my independence when I married the woman I chose rather than someone chosen for me by others."
Dr. Yitzhak recently received the 2018 Alumni Award from BGU. The following rationale was written the in the award scroll: "In honor of the Chief Medical Officer of the Southern Command, who wisely leads the IDF's medical corps in providing optimal and advanced care; to a graduate of the medical school and Department of Health Systems Management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, an outstanding and devoted a combat physician, surgeon and medical administrator, in recognition of the military duties which he carried out with sensitivity and professionalism, including while under fire, and his leadership of rescue and aid missions around the world; and with deep admiration for the first Ethiopian doctor in Israel, a paragon of perseverance, courage and commitment.
Read about other BGU faculty, alumni and honorees describing significant moments in their lives, linking them to the nation's history >>>>