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Slightly more than two weeks ago, 2nd Lt. Aharon Karov got leave from his Paratroop unit so he could attend his own wedding. Less than 48 hours after marrying Tzviya Mordechai of Kedumim he was called back to his unit, and on Monday night he was critically wounded in an explosion in a booby-trapped house in the northern Gaza Strip. Having fought Hamas, he is now fighting for his life at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

Karov - the son of Rabbi Zeev Karov, who heads the yeshiva high school in the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron and is a well-known figure in the religious Zionist community - studied at the hesder yeshiva (which combines Torah study and military service) in the evacuated Gaza settlement of Netzarim, and was excited to be returning as a soldier, to an area he knew well.

The newly married couple had a difficult time separating after such a brief time as husband and wife, Karov's father said.

"But it was clear to them that there are times when you have to sacrifice for the sake of the State of Israel," he added. "The transition from joy to sadness in such a short time isn't easy, but that is apparently the complexity of our lives here. Aharon loved the mission imposed on him and carried it out without objecting for a moment, even when he was asked to put his personal life aside."