The Head of the Human Resources Directorate spoke at the appreciation ceremony for soldiers injured during Operation Cast Lead

Date: 04/03/2010, 5:41 PM     Author: Amnon Direktor

A bit more than a year after the end of Operation Cast Lead, an appreciation ceremony for soldiers injured during the operation was held on Wednesday night (Mar. 3). The event was initiated by the Rehabilitation Branch of the Ministry of Defense, with the objective of expressing its appreciation for those soldiers who are now undergoing complicated rehabilitation processes. 50 injured soldiers and their families attended the event and enjoyed a festive dinner with a performance by Israeli singer Kobi Aflalo.

“The idea of the evening is to bring together all the injured soldiers from the different hospitals – most of them are still in rehabilitation centers – and reunite them with their friends, to take away some of the pressure from the daily routine they are living, and most of all to remind them that we are here for them,” said the Head of the Rehabilitation Branch, Yekutiel Mor. He promised that this event would become a tradition.

The supportive process for injured soldiers begins the moment they are injured and continues until the last day of their rehabilitation, and carries on throughout their entire lives. The Rehabilitation Branch and the Casualties Branch of the IDF (Zahal) accompany them in different ways throughout the process – whether it is the transport of the patient from place to place or the organization of medical care that the individual hospitals cannot provide.

In addition to that, assistance is offered not only from a medical point of view, but also regarding professional rehabilitation, finding jobs and preparation for higher studies. There is also an emphasis on the mental aspect, and the injured soldiers receive psychological treatment throughout their rehabilitation process.
Lt. Ido Ander, who was injured in both legs during Operation Cast Lead, was hospitalized for two months and then spent five months in rehabilitation, and returned proudly to his combat position in the Paratrooper Brigade. “This morning, I got up at 6:30 for morning exercise, and since then I’ve been busy the whole day, my schedule is very full.” Ido will soon be fulfilling his dream of becoming a company commander in the Paratrooper Brigade. “During the rehabilitation process itself, the support system is very large. Rehabilitation Officers come and visit me and take care of me, starting from my salary, and up to minor things, obviously connected to my soldiers and my unit.”

The Head of the Human Resources Directorate, Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir, also attended the event. “It is a privilege and a duty to be here on this important evening,” he said, and expressed his high esteem for the injured soldiers, who in his opinion proved their heroism twice – once during battle and once during their rehabilitation process. He spoke about the heavy price they paid, the national pride the evoked, and about the fact that they protect the IDF (Zahal) values. “To you, the last year has not been easy, and I acknowledge and appreciate you. I am very moved to stand here in front of you, you who fought with all your heart without fear, and when the earth trembled, you were there. We salute you!”