Presidential Citation for Excellence

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Israel Air Force Sergeant Matan Malichi, 21, a 2012 graduate of Boys Town Jerusalem, was among the 120 Israel Defense Forces soldiers cited for excellence by President Ruby Rivlin at a gala ceremony on Israel’s 67st Independence Day. The award was presented to Malichi and his comrades at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem in the presence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. The Israeli Air Force paid its own traditional salute to the soldiers in an impressive aeronautic “flyover” held during the ceremony.

For Sgt. Matan Malichi, the award was a tribute to his devotion to duty and his professionalism in assuming command of his unit when the superior officer was reassigned to a special mission. Malichi serves in the Air Force Technology and Logistics Branch in a unit geared for training observant recruits to operate the Air Force’s heavy machinery and equipment. From building electrical and mechanical infrastructures to operating armored bulldozers and other engineering and construction missions, these soldiers make a major contribution to Israel’s security.

Matan himself enlisted in this unit “because I wanted to serve my country while maintaining my religious values.” He soon rose to the rank of sergeant, and made the smooth transition to leading the unit when the situation dictated. Rabbi Elimelech Yaakov, director of Jewish Studies at Boys Town Jerusalem, noted that Matan Malichi was an excellent high school student who already showed strong leadership capabilities. Malichi, whose family is of Yemenite origin, attended Boys Town for four years and majored in Electronics and Computers.

In presenting the Exemplary Soldier award to Matan Malichi and the other prizewinners, President Ruby Rivlin declared, “The IDF is outstanding not because of its force, but because of its spirit.”

“The ceremony was a very exciting moment in my life,” Matan admitted. “Now I look forward to my last five months of IDF service, where I’ll continue to lead my unit until someone comes to replace me. It’s been a great challenge and a great honor for me to serve.”

Matan Malichi is the sixth Boys Town Jerusalemgraduate to be granted the Presidential Award for Exemplary IDF Soldiers.

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