Two Israeli national heroes were set to lead the Jerusalem Marathon’s Community Run as part of Team Shalva later this month.
The team will be led by Olympic medalist, Ori Sasson, and Yehuda Yitzchak HaYisraeli, the soldier who was critically wounded in an effort to save kidnapped Hadar Goldin OB”M during 2014's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
Hydrotherapy at the Shalva National Center has boosted HaYisraeli’s rehabilitation of body and soul in his complex recovery. Now he is giving back to Shalva by joining Team Shalva.
Yehuda Yitzchak HaYisraeli (25), a soldier in the elite Rimon unit of the Givati brigade, is married to Rivkah and father to his daughter Tzuria (4 years old) and son Erez (2 and a half years old, who was born while he lay unconscious). He insisted on fighting with his unit in the military operation despite his wife being in her ninth month of pregnancy. As his unit entered Rafah, on a mission to return the kidnapped soldier Hadar Goldin OB”M, HaYisraeli suffered a crtical wound to the head as shrapnel entered his brain. Since then, he has been recovering in the head injury rehabilitation unit at Soroka Medical Center; at first on life support and unconscious, and after many long months now communicating with his family. He lay unconscious for two years, surrounded by his wife, parents, and family who never stopped believing and hoping that he would awake and recover.
Today, Yehudah Yitzchak HaYisraeli is in the midst of an intense rehabilitative process, revealing unbelievable inner strength despite challenging difficulties. Hydrotherapy sessions at the Shalva National Center’s hydrotherapy pool are a significant element of his rehabilitation. There, he was exposed to the Shalva organization which provides care for thousands of children with disabilities and their family members.
Olympic medalist Ori Sasson, along with his brother Alon, is launching a Judo class for children with disabilities at the Shalva National Center, where he regularly volunteers. Sasson recently sold his Judo jacket, with which he won the Bronze for Israel at the 2016 Rio Olympics, for $100,000 to benefit Shalva’s children.
Nearly 1,000 additional runners will be joining Sasson and HaYisraeli as part of Team Shalva in the Jerusalem Marathon; including Shalva’s children with disabilities, volunteers, soldiers, as well as 400 students and groups arriving from abroad. Together they raised over $1,000,000 in sponsorships to benefit Shalva.Shalva, the Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, was founded 26 years ago based on the belief that the responsibility of caring for individuals with disabilities does not belong solely to the families into which they are born. Rather, individuals with disabilities require and deserve support from the broader community and to be included as equal members of society.
Headquartered at the Shalva National Center, which is the largest and most advanced center of its kind in Israel; Shalva operates inclusion-promoting, rehabilitative programs for people with various disabilities around the clock.