With Passover in full swing, individuals, families, and various organizations across Israel are hard at work ensuring that soldiers of the IDF are able to celebrate the Festival of Freedom along with the rest of the country.
While enjoying festive foods and treats and participating in customary Passover seders (the traditional Passover meal and rituals performed on the first evening of the holiday) on their bases, IDF soldiers are able to participate in the countrywide celebration of Passover during their army service.
It is during this time of year, when tremendous amounts of attention and generosity are directed at active duty IDF soldiers, that IDF veterans, and in particular injured and/or disabled IDF veterans, tend to get overlooked.
According to the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, there are currently some 50,000 injured or disabled IDF veterans living in Israel.
While these veterans were injured in various wars and military operations spanning the course of the past 70 years, they are united in the fact that they were injured defending the Land and the People of Israel.
Each of these veterans has a unique and heart-wrenching heroic story behind their injury.
Take Dan for example.
A 26 year-old university student studying law and governmental studies at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, Dan is just one of Israel’s 50,000 injured veterans.
Dan was injured while serving as a commanding officer during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza during the summer of 2014.
Some 68 IDF soldiers and officers were killed during Operation Protective Edge as the IDF battled against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The IDF’s Unit for Rehabilitation confirmed an additional 322 soldiers were injured during the 2014 operation.
As the commanding officer of his armored vehicle, Dan took full responsibility for the soldiers under his command. In a horrific accident, a live grenade entered Dan’s vehicle. Without a moment’s hesitation, Dan jumped on the live grenade, using his body as a human shield to protect the other soldiers in the vehicle.
Dan’s heroic split-second decision saved the lives of all the soldiers in the vehicle.
“Dan is an Israeli hero. IDF soldiers are known for putting their lives on the line, not just ot protect the citizens of the State of Israel, but to protect one another as well,” Dr. John A.I Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, told Breaking Israel News.
Dan has undergone numerous surgeries and countless hours of therapy since he was injured nearly four years ago. Despite the best efforts of his medical team, Dan remains in serious pain and only has partial use of his leg.
Dan’s doctors agree that the best plan of treatment of Dan is to be fit for a specialized brace, the IDEO brace, available only in Washington, USA.
The IDEO brace, created by Ryan Blanck, is an innovative piece of lower limb support technology which helps with pain, instability, and weakness caused by injuries to lower limbs.
Without being fit and trained to properly use the IDEO brace, Dan will remain unable to run, walk in comfort and will continue to live in pain.
The revolutionary technology of the IDEO brace is currently only available at the Hanger Clinic in Olympia, Washington.
The cost of Dan’s travel expenses, medical care, and rehabilitation at the Hanger Clinic totals $20,000.
A crowdfunding page has been setup to help reach the $20,000 goal as quickly as possible to get Dan the treatment he has been waiting years to receive.
“Passover is the Festival of Freedom. It is the holiday in which we remember the redemption of the Children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. Day and night, the brave and heroic soldiers of the IDF defend the Land of Israel and ensure that the People of Israel continue to live peacefully and in freedom,” said Grossman.
“We can not overlook or forget the injured veterans of the IDF who are living in their own form of personal bondage due to the injuries they sustained defending the Land of Israel. This Passover, we must unite behind Dan, make sure he received proper treatment and can begin the next chapter of his life,in health, happiness and freedom.”
Written in coordination with LIBI USA.