Project Spotlight: Caring for Israel’s IDF Veterans
The Fellowship | September 19, 2023
In 2022, The Fellowship gave a $460,000 grant for the purchase of four vehicles to transport IDF veterans with disabilities to the Beit HaLochem (Soldiers Home) in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Be’er Sheva. These Soldiers Homes are the social and physical treatment centers for injured IDF veterans. And over 6,000 homebound veterans would be unable to get to the Soldiers Homes on their own without the help of The Fellowship. Today, these vehicles help people like Armond:
‘The Shuttle Brought Me Back to Life’
Armond, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) veteran, suffered an injury in the Yom Kippur War. This is why he is so grateful to visit The Soldiers Home in Be’er Sheva, Israel, with the help of The Fellowship’s new shuttle vehicle to receive much-needed hydrotherapy treatments and physical therapy. Most importantly, at 71 years old, he feels supported by a community to help him recover from the trauma of war.
Armond’s family made aliyah from Morocco when he was five years old. At 18, Armond was drafted into the IDF. During his service, he got married, and two weeks before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, he became a father.
While stationed in Sinai, Armond remembers the surprise attack by the Egyptian and Syrian army on Israel’s borders on Yom Kippur. Armond says, “There were many more [of them] than us and they opened with a massive firing of grenades.” Out of his team of 56 soldiers, only 17 soldiers remained alive. A bullet injured Armond in the leg and they transported him by helicopter to a hospital for treatment.
Armond recounts the trauma: “During the first years after the war, I had difficulty functioning. I suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well a physical injury; I hardly left home; I felt like I was half a man. It was like my body was no longer mine.”
Today, his health declines, he grows weaker, and can no longer drive to the home, which he relies on for care. “The Soldiers Home is my second home and sometimes even my main home,” he says. “I need treatments that I can only receive there.”
Thankfully, the vehicle donated by The Fellowship means Armond and hundreds of other IDF soldiers can continue treatment. “The shuttle brought me back to life.”