For the first time, an Israeli team is competing in the international Invictus Games, the series founded by Prince Harry in 2014 to champion the rehabilitation of war-wounded veterans from military and security forces.
This year, an official delegation of injured IDF athletes, spearheaded by the Rehabilitation Division of the Defense Ministry and the Disabled Veterans IDF Organization, is attending the games in Germany. These games, which opened last Saturday, will continue until the upcoming weekend.
Prince Harry established the games rooted in the conviction that sports can be a powerful avenue for rehabilitation. The focus is not just on the competition but on the transformative journey of the participants.
This year, the games feature 10 diverse sports. The Israeli team, composed of IDF veterans who underwent rehabilitation through sports training programs across Israel, is competing in events such as swimming, hand-cycling, archery, and table tennis.
Israel becomes 23rd nation to join Invictus games
Around 18 months prior, the Invictus organization extended an invitation to Israel, recognizing a mutual commitment to rehabilitating injured soldiers via sports. This collaboration between the Israeli Embassy in London, military attachés, the Rehabilitation Division of the Defense Ministry, and the Disabled Veterans IDF Organization, culminated in Israel joining as the 23rd nation in these paralympic games.
Attorney Idan Kaliman, who leads the delegation and also chairs the Disabled Veterans IDF Organization, called it an “unparalleled and exhilarating moment for us. The opportunity for the Israeli national team to be a part of the Invictus Games is deeply cherished. Recognizing the significance of sports in rehabilitation, we’ve instituted sports centers in warrior homes, aiding them in refining their capabilities. Our anticipation is palpable as we participate in the Invictus Games for the first time, eager to witness our team’s feats.”
He added: “Our gratitude goes out to Prince Harry for inviting us to these games – a vision he turned into reality. His commendation of the warrior homes as a global rehabilitation exemplar during the ceremony was a profound honor. This moment is emblematic of our shared belief in the critical role of sports in the healing journey. We keenly await our team’s performance.”