For hundreds of IDF soldiers wounded in Operation Protective Edge, the battle is far from over. In some ways, it has only just begun. The valor and determination they displayed fighting in the Gaza Strip will be required of them again now during their long and daily rehabilitation process. They will not be there alone. We will stand by them on their long and complicated path, until they win this new battle that they face – the battle of mind over matter, the battle of full rehabilitation.
Over the past few weeks, disabled IDF veterans mobilized and came to visit and encourage the new casualties at the hospitals and rehabilitation wards. They went through the various wards, embraced and encouraged the wounded, shared their personal rehabilitation stories and, most of all, promised them and their families that we are all here for them.
There are no dull moments in rehabilitation, nor is it limited in time.
As such, many different and diverse activities take place under the auspices of the Warrior Houses (Beit HaLochem) nationwide. Art, creative and sporting activities are an integral part of the rehabilitation process.
The impressive achievements attained by disabled IDF veterans and their international recognition serve as testimony of their return to an active and energetic life filled with joy and creativity, symbolizing their life force and strength to move on, despite the hardships and obstacles.
RETAINING HUMAN dignity, along with the desire to lead as normative a life as possible, to integrate within society and continue to contribute, create, realize dreams and enjoy all of the good that life has to offer – all of these are small miracles that we, the IDF Disabled Veterans’ Organization (ZDVO), help come true every day.
We look the wounded soldiers in the eye and tell them that our mission is to enable each and every one of them to realize their pre-injury objectives. We will tirelessly continue to act toward fulfilling our commitment as a proper society, helping anyone wounded during military service.
And just a few words for all of us: The confrontation in Gaza has inflamed our social discourse and introduced violence into it. Extremists have raised their heads and pummeled anyone who expressed a different opinion. Even renowned journalist Amnon Abramovich, himself a disabled veteran, was not spared. That must be condemned adamantly. But no less worthy of condemnation are statements made by a certain Knesset member who, in one of her television appearances, rushed to label his attackers as “most probably pencil-pushers.”
It is worthwhile and important to remind her, and everyone else, that “pencil pushers” also contribute, also serve, are also wounded and killed in the line of duty. We’ve experience it in the past and, unfortunately, we are seeing it now, too.
Terrorist organizations do not distinguish between soldiers and civilians, mortar shells do not distinguish between front-line troops, pencil pushers or combat support troops. We at the ZDVO embrace all of the casualties and hope for their speedy recovery. We are here for them.
The author is the chairman of ZDVO.