Rafael cannot fully share his story with us as it was a classified mission that is still unknown. All he can share is that it regards a serious, existential credible threat from within Lebanon. Under cover of darkness, Rafael, a member of the K9 unit, his dog and team had completed their mission and were on their way home when they were ambushed. A bomb exploded next to him and his dog took a majority of the blast. They were thrown in the air and his dog died on top of him. They were trapped under fire for a long time before being rescued. He sustained severe injuries with shrapnel in his body that required 6 months in the hospital in intentensive care and a year after back and forth to the hospital every day for treatement and therapy. Rafael was prescribed heavy pain killers and eventually became addicted. He spent a year in rehab getting off of them. He now has metal throughout his leg from knee to foot, two machines that help him walk and a dropped foot. Even with these injuries, he climbed Mt. Kiliminjaro. Having made it through rehab, he began working at programs for high-risk kids and is in school to become a social worker.
Rafael was tattooed October 25, 2018 by artist Miguel Ochoa at Tel Aviv City Hall.