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Beit Halochem takes care of Israel’s wounded veterans and their families - from the time of injury and for the rest of their lives.

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The Young Veterans Clubs of Beit Halochem provides rehabilitation activities that include wall-climbing, scuba diving, paintball, and extreme sports (Photo: Supplied)

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Beit Halochem Canada, Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel is committed to rehabilitating, rebuilding, and enhancing the lives of over 50,000 Israelis disabled in the line of duty or through acts of terror. Since its 1978 founding, the organization has raised funds to provide rehabilitation services and programming for disabled veterans and their families at Beit Halochem Centres across Israel.

These leading-edge facilities in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beer Sheva, and the soon-to-be-completed Ashdod, offer veterans and their families a wide range of unparalleled individualized therapies, specialized sports training, rehabilitative equipment, and creative and cultural activities. 

While the country was locked down by COVID-19, the Centres remained open to members for their vital rehabilitation. Deemed “essential services” by the Government of Israel, the designation demonstrates Beit Halochem’s central role in the lives of those who have given so much while defending Israel.

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Even during this period of relative quiet, danger remains a reality for Israel’s protectors and Beit Halochem receives new members on a weekly basis. While each member has their own story, we share those of four young veterans, all recently injured in the line of duty.

AVIV BAR 

Philadelphia-born AVIV BAR made Aliyah as a child with her family. She joined the army in January 2016 to become an Education Officer focusing on soldiers’ morals and ethics – a role unique to the IDF. She was stationed with the Jerusalem Border Police. 

In the city on a day off, Aviv and her friends were rammed by a truck-driving terrorist. Four of Aviv’s friends were killed and she was critically injured. Intubated and on life support, surgeons undertook the difficult procedure to repair her broken spine and leg. After three months in a wheelchair, Aviv relearned basic skills including using her hands, sitting, walking, and standing. She said, “I still go to Beit Halochem for treatments. My goal is to get back full function. It takes time. You live with it and make the most of it. With the support of Beit Halochem, I know it’s possible.”

SHOVAL SHARR

At 19 years old, SHOVAL SHARR was already an instructor of heavy armored fighting vehicles in the IDF Artillery Corps. On November 12, 2018, as a convoy of forces travelled along the Gaza border towards a training session, his team was positioned at its rear for security purposes. On arriving at their destination, soldiers left their vehicle to ensure the area was safe. 

As Shoval recalled, “Only a few moments before, the area looked tranquil. It quickly turned into hell.” A Hamas anti-tank missile launched from the Gaza Strip targeted the convoy of vehicles. While just moments before, dozens of Givati soldiers had disembarked and were out of harm’s way, Shoval was standing next to a vehicle when it was hit by a missile. Shrapnel pierced his entire body, including his eye. With Hamas continuing to fire rockets, rescue efforts were hindered and he had to fend for himself. He was in critical condition when finally evacuated. Suffering from multiple organ failure, he underwent numerous surgeries; despite their best efforts, surgeons could not save his damaged eye. Shoval continues with extensive rehabilitation and treatments at Beit Halochem Tel Aviv. 

The young man is determined to reclaim his life and one of his dreams is a return to his great passion. Shoval vowed “My goal will be achieved when I’m healthy and strong again and when I resume surfing – this will be my victory over Hamas.”

MOSHE DAMKA

Born in 1998 to Ethiopian parents who had arrived in Israel a year earlier, MOSHE DAMKA served in the IDF Combat Engineering Corps. In December 2018, while uncovering and dismantling Hezbollah tunnels, he sustained serious multiple injuries. He was 20 years old. 

Confined to a wheelchair for four months, Moshe is now mobile after enduring daily six-hour rehabilitative sessions both in hospital and at Beit Halochem. Moshe appreciates the importance of the organization in repairing his body and, especially, his mind. Even though Beit Halochem Tel Aviv has been open throughout the pandemic, traveling to the Centre from his home in Ashdod has proven challenging for Moshe. When Beit Halochem Ashdod opens, Moshe will benefit from his much-closer proximity to the Centre.

SHADI IBRAHIM

SHADI IBRAHIM, a member of the Armored Corps unit, grew up in a Druze village in northern Israel. He was severely injured in a car-ramming on May 14, 2020 when a terrorist accelerated as he deliberately drove into a group of soldiers. 

The 21-year-old was evacuated to the hospital in serious condition with injuries to his upper body. He later suffered multi-system trauma following several surgeries – eventually leading to the amputation of his left leg. While in hospital, Beit Halochem members, some of whom had also lost limbs, visited Shadi. These visits are important for the newly injured to see that life goes on. As he embarks on his recovery, Shadi has a positive outlook, “I feel good, I know I lost my leg but nothing will break me. I thank Beit Halochem for being there.” 

One of Beit Halochem’s priorities is to provide support and encouragement to its youngest members through an extensive array of appealing programs. Aviv, Shoval, Moshe, and Shadi participate in each of their Centres’ Young Veterans Clubs, enjoying activities that include wall-climbing, scuba diving, paintball, Jeep outings, and extreme sports. As they adapt to their changed circumstances, a highly significant aspect of their rehabilitation includes creating bonds and forming relationships with other young people.

Engaging programs dedicated to special needs, demographics, and interests are offered to Beit Halochem’s members, including essential PTSD support groups, Young Veterans Club, and Senior Citizens Club – whose participants include War of Independence veterans. Members can pursue their creativity in art classes; enjoy the collaboration of others in singing and dancing troupes; or improve their strength and enhance their self-esteem while competing in team sports. Knowing that partners and children are affected by injury, inspired family programming complements the member’s therapy.

As injured men and women find life plans suddenly derailed, academic and athletic scholarships assist them in determining new directions and regaining independence. Empowering the members to remain active participants of Israeli society is among Beit Halochem’s highest priorities.

Beit Halochem is the only organization that takes care of Israel’s wounded veterans and their families from the time of injury and for the rest of their lives. With donors’ help, Beit Halochem fulfils its commitment to rehabilitate, rebuild, and enhance the lives of those Israelis disabled while protecting Israel.

Donations to Beit Halochem Canada, Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel acknowledge the enormous sacrifices made by wounded Heroes like Aviv, Shoval, Moshe, and Shadi.

As Israel continues to pursue peace, casualties do not stop. Beit Halochem Canada is there to help when another life is impacted. Without these courageous men and women, there would be no Israel. Without their sacrifices, Israel would not be celebrating its 73rd year of independence. With the support of its donors, the organization gives Israel’s disabled veterans what they deserve – the opportunity to reclaim their lives.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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