PM Netanyahu Visits Wounded Soldiers at Tel Hashomer
Photo by GPO 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this afternoon visited the wounded soldiers who are hospitalized at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.  Immediately upon landing from Canada, and before going to security meetings in Jerusalem, the Prime Minister insisted on visiting the wounded soldiers in order to inquire about their well-being and hear first-hand about what happened during the commando operation.

During the visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu encouraged the soldiers and their families and told them that, "There were no peace activists on that ship.  You are heroes and it is thanks to your bravery and determination that your friends’ lives were saved."

One soldier told Prime Minister Netanyahu that he had taken a bullet in the stomach and pointed out the entry and exit wounds.  The Prime Minister shook his hand warmly and said, "I am not a doctor but this was a hard and painful experience.  I am certain that you saved many lives there, both your own and others’."

A captain told Prime Minister Netanyahu that people on the ship seized the rope and tried to prevent soldiers from coming down, and that only the soldiers’ resourcefulness led to its release.  "I came down second and as I did, they shot at me.  Seven or eight fighters jumped on me and began to beat me with a bar.  I was hit on the head and neck.  Another man attacked me with a knife.  I lost consciousness for 45 minutes and when I came to it was already light.  My friends came and saved me."

Another soldier said that as soon as he descended, he was set upon and thrown to a lower deck.  He received a severe skull fracture as a result.  The doctors told Prime Minister Netanyahu that the soldier’s rapid recovery was nothing short of miraculous and added that they believed he would be able to go home soon.  The soldier’s father asked the Prime Minister: "This was a peace ship, right?"  The Prime Minister replied, "People of peace were certainly not there," and said that he looked forward to visiting the soldier soon at his home in the north.