Rivlin hosts injured IDF veterans to raise awareness for disabilities

Israel’s Defense Ministry has not yet moved with the times, continuing to refer to injured IDF veterans as "disabled."

President Reuven Rivlin is seen meeting with disabled IDF veterans on December 2, 2020. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin is seen meeting with disabled IDF veterans on December 2, 2020.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
In civilian circles, care is taken not to use the word “disabled” when referring to people with physical or mental disabilities, but in the Israeli army, the organization of wounded veterans still calls itself Irgun Nechei Tzahal, which translates as the Organization of IDF Disabled (handicapped or crippled).
In America and Canada, they are referred to as injured veterans or wounded warriors.
In this respect, the Defense Ministry has not yet moved with the times.
Representatives of the organization as well as those of the Organization of Victims of Terrorism, were hosted by President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday within the framework of Injured Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Day.
Even though this day is marked annually, including at the Knesset, it has not yet been written into law. Rivlin, a lawyer by profession and a former speaker of the Knesset, said it was time that this day of appreciation to soldiers and victims of terrorism was written into law, so that those who were wounded simply because they are Israelis will not be invisible to the wider public.
Louay Mray, who was wounded in 2002 by an improvised explosive device near the Lebanese border, told Rivlin that after losing his legs, he didn’t think he wanted to live; but while in rehabilitation, he changed his mind and chose life. Mray’s was one of several stories that Rivlin heard from wounded veterans as well as civilians who had been seriously wounded by explosives hurled or set off by terrorists.
Dana Pinchasov, who, as a soldier, was wounded in a bus explosion in Jerusalem in 1996, told the president that as difficult as it is for any wounded IDF veteran to cope with his or her wounds – especially if they are permanent – it is much harder for a female veteran, because people felt more comfortable asking specifics about her injuries than they do with male veterans.
“I’m proud of every scar,” she said. “They’ve made me the person I am today.”
Among the most seriously wounded of the veterans was Ilay Hayut, who is paralyzed as a result of jumping from a moving car on the order of his commander. Prior to his injury, in 2018, Hayut was an athlete.
“I was an outstanding sportsman,” he told Rivlin, as he recounted how he broke records as a runner and dreamed of running faster and breaking more records each time he got up in the morning. “Today, my dream is to walk on crutches,” he said, and he’s convinced that he will eventually do this.
Abie Moses, who fought a fierce battle to have his organization officially recognized and included in memorial ceremonies and tributes to heroism, still bears the scars of a 1987 firebomb attack in which his wife and five-year-old son were killed.
Rivlin, who throughout his presidency has spent a lot of time with wounded soldiers and has visited them in hospitals, said: “The war of the wounded soldiers begins when the battle ends, after the explosions are over, when the fog of war lifts, when life goes back to normal.”
He is aware, he said, “that in many cases you feel ‘invisible,’ find it difficult to deal with bureaucracy, get frustrated and tired from the challenges and the difficulties. It is time to establish this day of appreciation for wounded soldiers and victims of terrorism in law.
“Today, we would like to salute you, to thank you and to say that you are not invisible. We have not forgotten, and we do not forget. We see you. You paid the price that binds our lives to this land, and we bear the moral responsibility to help you as much as possible.”