Wounded Soldiers

Israeli soldiers wounded in battle have made enormous sacrifices on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People worldwide. They deserve the gratitude, respect and affection of Jews everywhere.

CTVP volunteers spend a great deal of time visiting them in hospitals and in rehabilitation facilities. When they have to spend long periods of time under care, CTVP provides them with laptop computers so they can stay in touch with friends all over. This greatly relieves the sense of isolation they often experience.

Once they have achieved a certain degree of rehabilitation, CTVP arranges special trips of a lifetime for these Israeli heroes.

As far away from Burgas as possible

Terror victims taken on vacation in New York on behalf of Chabad Terror Victims Project. For 10 days, Daniel Fahima got away from treatments after Burgas terrorist attack, thoughts about his two best friends killed

Daniel Fahima Published: 05.13.13, 20:40 Israel News

There is nothing more difficult than the routine. Ten months have passed since the terrorist attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, and every day is a new battle. I still suffer from pain and I know it won't be easier soon, but at least for 10 days I managed to get away from treatments, memories and routine. 

We travelled to New York as part of the Chabad Terror Victims Project. Ten people who were injured, helping each other. Together with me were Captain Ziv Shilon, critically wounded less than a year ago on the border with Gaza; Nati Hachkur, injured from missile prior to Operation Cast Lead ; Ziv Yitzhaki, injured in Second Lebanon War; Noam Nakash, injured fromQassam rocket four and half years ago; Andre Peck, injured in terrorist attack over 10 years ago; Yechiel Tzanany, injured a year ago from rocket on the border with Gaza; Border Guard Albert Sabah, injured in terrorist attack two years ago; and Dror Zicherman, critically injured in 2005 in terrorist attack near West Bank city of Tulkarem. 

Identify and understand

During the 10 days in New York, I was mostly moved by the community's sympathy. When I told them my story, I could see the pain on their faces, together with great sympathy, and how much they appreciate us. They called us "Israel's finest". They are people with a very big heart, and they took us to the most luxurious places and spared nothing. 

Group members in Times Square (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

They gave us a warm welcoming reception and plenty of food. Every day we had breakfast at a restaurant or at a community host's house. They took us flying above New York and all sorts of special places. One day we were taken to meet Amish people, who live without any technology whatsoever. Even though it may seem magical, you cannot envy them. They live in the past.

We were also taken to a Yankees baseball game. The game itself is somewhat boring, but just being at Yankee Stadium – a true temple for Americans – is an emotional experience. On Saturday night we performed Havdalah in Times Square, the center of the world, which was very emotional for me as a believing man. I always believed there is a God, and thanks to the fact I was saved, that belief has become stronger. However I don't think I'll become more religious, it is not my nature.

In one of the dinners, with another 500 participants from the Jewish, each one of us told his story: How he was injured, what happened to him and what he has been going through since. For me it was very powerful to listen to the other stories. It let me feel I am not alone, and that others have gone through similar experiences, even though every story is completely different and unique. Of course, powerful connections were made with the others. These are people I went to sleep with at night, woke up with in the morning, and spent 24 hours a day with. All of their stories moved me.

I also told my story in that event. I still remember everything, every moment. In July last year I flew with two childhood friends, Elior Priess and Maor Harush, to a dream vacation in Burgas, Bulgaria. Elior, Maor and three other Israelis were killed. I was severely wounded. I lost an eye and fought for my life. I was anaesthetized for two months, and only recently I went back home to Akko.

Remember every minute

There are many who are injured and don't remember a thing, only what they have been told. I personally remember everything, and images still come back to me sometimes. It is not something that could disappear in such a short period of time. I remember how one of my friends joined the trip in the very last minute, and there was another friend who was very fortunate and did not join us in the end.

After we landed we picked up our luggage, went outside and looked for ways to get to our hotel, and then we approached the bus. The last sentence I remember one of my friends saying to me is: "Take the bag, we'll be right back." Then I remember the fire and smoke, the ringing in my ears, and how I was dragged from the burning bus. I closed my eyed and prayed for it all to end. Afterwards I somehow got my strength back and thought about my family and friends who are waiting for me. I started screaming. A few minutes afterwards I tried walking – and then the second explosion occurred.

'Always thinking about them, even in New York' (Photo: Bentzi Sasson)

The first thing I asked when I got up was where are they? Where are my childhood friends? Not a moment goes by that I don't think about them, even in New York. Why am I alive and they aren't. I would switch places with them right now, and I still can't believe my friends are not here with me. 

Today I am still in rehabilitation. I do physiotherapy, go through all the treatments. There are still breakdowns here and there. I try to be as strong as I can and keep a warm connection with my belated friends' families. I feel we help each other. Right now I am fully focused on rehabilitation. It is my only goal, and the final aim is to go back to how I was before, and to be able to do everything I could before the injury. The things that help me get stronger and help me to move on are the things I also had before the attack – supportive family, girlfriend, friends and music – I have recently gone back to the DJ stand and everyone is helping and supporting me.

It is important for me to give my thanks to everyone who received us, the Jewish community, Chabad, and everyone who helped them. And to anyone who helps those who have gone through difficult times to have a moment of joy.


Heroes of Israel Enjoying NYC

 Heroes of Israel Enjoying NYC

Photos by Bentzi Sasson

Photos by Bentzi Sasson

Video by Moishy Lew

At a time when the United States is still reeling from the Boston terror attack, this past Shabbat one thousand Jews gathered to show support and admiration for ten severely wounded Israeli soldiers and victims of terror.

The soldiers were brought to New York for an all-expenses-paid trip where they experienced ten days of fun, pleasure and inspiration. The trip was arranged by Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side, directed by Rabbi Uriel and Shevy Vigler, in cooperation with the Chabad Terror Victims Program of Israel, directed by Rabbis Menachem Kutner and Yossi Swerdlov.

Friday night, 500 community members attended a magnificently catered Shabbat meal, and heard the soldiers’ heart-wrenching yet miraculous and inspiring stories.

Andre Peck, one of the soldiers, shared his story. Andre was one of the border guards who rushed to the scene of the December 2001 bus attack en route from Bnei Brak to Emmanuel. Palestinian terrorists had planted roadside bombs, and as the unarmored bus drove past two massive explosions caused major damage to the vehicle. The bus continued to drive several hundred meters until it broke down. Immediately the terrorists approached the bus, throwing live grenades and shooting firearms into the crowd of passengers trying to flee.

Andre raced to the scene and began to fire at the terrorists. Despite taking a bullet himself, he continued to pursue the enemy and killed four terrorists. Ten civilians were killed in the attack, and dozens were wounded. Andre was hit in the spine five times and paralyzed from the waist down. He received the highest medal of honor from the IDF.

When Andre finished his account, everyone joined in a spirited dance while singing “Am Yisrael Chai,” and “Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach.”

The packed Shabbat morning service was led by Cantor Ari Kleinand the Neshama Acapella Group. Many of the soldiers were given an aliyah, and spontaneous hakafot broke out after each one. 

The group went on Friday to the Ohel where they were able to pour out their heart and daven for a speedy recovery. On Sunday they all got a motorcycle with a rider and went on a tour in the Bear mountain area.

Even though the soldiers were treated to 10 days of fun they all agreed that the love and support they have received from the people of the Chabad Israel Center community is the most incredible part of their trip, and a vital component to their rehabilitation. 



Ten Severely Wounded IDF Soldiers get Uplifted in NY Trip

 Ten Severely Wounded IDF Soldiers get Uplifted in NY Trip 

Photos by Bentzi Sasson

Photos by Bentzi Sasson

One of the 10 severely wounded Israeli soldiers on a Chabad-sponsored trip to New York admitted that he was "high."

By COLlive reporter
Photos by Bentzi Sasson

Captain Ziv Shilon, a platoon commander in Givati Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, was severely injured 6 months ago when a roadside bomb planted by Hamas terrorists exploded during a routine patrol. Doctors had to amputate one of his arms and the other is totally crushed. 

Shilon and 9 other severely wounded soldiers and victims of terror are in New York for 10 days of therapy and fun on a trip sponsored by Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side, under Rabbi Urieland Shevy Vigler.

The project is called "Belev Echad" (with one heart) and regularly organizes trouble and worry-free trips to the United States for severely wounded IDF soldiers and victims of terror.

Speaking this week at a welcome reception honoring 10 severely wounded IDF soldiers at the Chabad Israel Center, Shilon said: "My greatest wish is to be able to return to the IDF and to continue protecting Am Yisrael."

The soldiers are accompanied by Rabbi Menachem Kutner and Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov of Chabad Terror Victims Project who deal with these soldiers year round in Israel .

Joining them at the reception was the Israel's military attache in the U.S., Major General Yaacov Ayish who cancelled his appointments in Washington so that he can spend time with these brave heroes.

Addressing them were Rabbi Benzion Krasnianski of the Chabad of the Upper East Side and Israel's Consul General in New Yprk Ido Aharoni.

Nati Hatzkor, who had his leg blown off from a missile right before Operation Cast Lead, mentioned this week that words cannot describe the pain and agony that he experiences on a daily basis. 

He has to medicated marijuana for his pain and he joked and said, "I don't know if I am on a high from the marijuana or from this incredible Belev Echad trip. However every day he forces himself to smile and be happy because if there is one day that he is sad and upset that day is a victory for the terrorists who did this to him."


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