The veterans were injured in the Second Lebanon War, Operation Protective Edge and the latest terror wave.
Posted In: 11/06/18 Jerusalemonline.com
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took part Tuesday in a ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport in honor of 20 wounded IDF veterans who are on their first trip after their release from the army.
„After the Army Trip“ is a rehabilitation project initiated by the Friends of the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization in Israel, together with El Al, for the fourth consecutive year.
This year’s 20-member delegation will climb to the Machu Picchu peak to 4,400 meters and walk about 35 kilometers on foot. The delegation includes wounded IDF veterans from the Second Lebanon War, Operation Protective Edge and the latest wave of terror. The group will be accompanied by a medical team and a psychologist.
Defense Minister Liberman said to the wounded IDF veterans, „We love you, believe in you, admire your inner strength and appreciate your sacrifice immeasurably. You are heroes! Good luck on the journey.“
One of the participants, Shimon Yifrach, a Border Police officer who was wounded in February 2016 during a rescue operation for soldiers in the Qalandiya refugee camp and who was decorated with the Distinguished Services Decoration, said that: „The trip will be a significant and important journey in our lives.”
Chairman of the Friends of the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization in Israel Maj. Gen. (res.) Eliezer Shkedy said at the ceremony: „You are embarking on a journey that is a unique experience that will present you with a physical and mental challenge. I will tell you in the name of all of us: We are proud of you, believe in you, and are convinced of your ability and love you. “
Brig. Gen. (res.) Haim Ronen, Director General of the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization, said: „We understand how much the ‘After the Army Trip’ is perceived as a significant event for every soldier who finishes his military service. We are pleased that we have found the way, along with the Israeli public, to enable disabled veterans to embark on this type of journey despite all the limitations.”
El Al president and CEO Gonen Ussishkin said at the ceremony: “El Al is proud of its cooperation with the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization and its Friends Organization in Israel. This is a project that is of the highest value and is the least we can do as a company to return even a little of our debt to this wonderful group.”