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Highlights: The Sheba Rehabilitation Hospital is a place where hell becomes paradise. Patients include amputees, or hands. Blind. Perforated and crushed. A human jumble, the most Israeli in the world. Religious, secular, Bibists and PHR-Bists, Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Officers of Sayeret Matkal and D9 operators. Golanchiks and Cherries. They're all cherries, actually. The cherries on the cake. The most amazing people this nation has to offer.

The mother who does not leave her son's bed, the amputee fighters who still want to return to combat, and the soldier who was wounded before the war, but whose girlfriend accompanied him throughout the rehabilitation process was kidnapped to Gaza. There, at the Sheba Rehabilitation Hospital, I realized that maybe we can be hurt, surprised, abused – but we can't be defeated

Video: Documentation: IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip after the collapse of the ceasefire/Photo: Report

You go in there with great distress. It takes a few minutes to fade away. You are surrounded by missing people. Their body parts were amputated under traumatic circumstances. Many are amputees, or hands. Or both. Blind. Perforated and crushed. At first you walk around like at a funeral. It takes a few minutes, until you realize you're at a party. When you walk out of there, a big smile on your face, that smile has no substantive reason. You have just gone through three harrowing hours listening to the most chilling stories of the most amazing people this nation has to offer. And you don't understand why, but you're happy.

Sheba Rehabilitation Hospital. A place where hell becomes paradise. First and foremost, thanks to patients. We'll get to them shortly. But also, and a lot, thanks to the therapists. Anat, the head rehabilitation nurse, for example, walks around there like a collective mother. Caressing it, whispering something to it, knowing every angle, every story, every stump, every nuance. Has been there for over three decades. A woman who does good and loves her job.

Doctors and doctors, nurses and nurses, mixed within families, within friends, some in uniform, some in wheelchairs. A human jumble, the most Israeli in the world. Religious, secular, Bibists and PHR-Bists, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, officers of Sayeret Matkal and D9 operators, Golanchiks and Cherries. They're all cherries, actually. The cherries on the cake.

IDF Activity in the Gaza Strip, Today/IDF Spokesperson

An enriched centrifuge named Noam Lanir dragged me there. He spends long days there and comes back excited. He already knows all the wounded and is connected to them as if he had been injured along with them. He gets excited with them as they tell their stories time and time again. Yesterday he almost cried when we talked to Debbie. Her son, Matan Levy, a 26-year-old Nahal reservist, grabbed an RPG in the face. What happened to him? Oh, nothing special. One eye flew out, the other eye followed (though not immediately). The forehead opened wide, the skull was crushed, the face became a mass of blood. But they are optimistic. Matan's mother and brother are happy with him. He lives, he is with them, besides everything is marginal.

The conversation with Debbie was chilling and uplifting, at the same time. "How can I complain," she said in her South American accent (immigrated from Cordoba, Argentina), I have the child. His brain wasn't damaged. He's the smartest. He'll be fine. When I see mothers whose children have not returned or are in Gaza, how can I complain? I'm happy. I have a child, he is alive. He'll be fine." She says and kisses him. And we want to, too, but we're a little ashamed. Her smile is wide, genuine and sweeping.

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"Want to keep fighting - without a leg"

Then we talked to Jonathan. Staff Sergeant in Engineering. Hijacked an RPG in a D9 in Gaza. An energy bomb in a wheelchair. Jonathan is also missing a leg, but after you sit with him, I think he has an extra leg. He's optimistic, he's full of life, he's dying to return to Gaza, with or without a leg. And the most amazing thing: there in the inferno, inside the bulldozer deep in Gaza, when everything around him was burning or exploding, he filmed. Video. The all. Including the missile fired at him at point-blank range. Yes, it's real. Caught the RPG on the way to it, red-handed. He has a selfie with his RPG. He continued filming even after he was seriously injured. and getting out of the burning bulldozer, and he also rescued the bulldozer's operating soldier through the window. And crawling on the ground for hiding. And the other bulldozer that came to try to protect the wounded, and the tank that rushed to help, and the evacuation. And the helicopter flight. It was a good thing he wasn't awake to film the operation.

Yonatan is an amazing guy from Ashkelon. When he is finally put on the stretcher, you can see that he grabs his head. I asked him why. "Because I wanted to stay and fight," he said. No leg, yes? Lion. Only the Maccabi Tel Aviv shirt he wore clouded the atmosphere a bit ("What do you want, that's what they brought me here for rehabilitation"). If I remember correctly, they are 6 children at home. 4 In the army. The little one enlists today (Monday). Where to, I asked. What do you mean, the mother replies, "for combat engineering."

In the Balkon next to Sitting Y., a major from the General Staff Patrol, one of the fighters of Kfar Azza. A crazy story, to be told. This elite unit suffered 10 casualties on October 7. In all the wars, raids and operations, about 50 of its fighters were killed. That damn day, ten more. They galloped south without thinking much. Teams, individuals, bruises. They never dreamed of what awaited them in the village of Gaza. Hundreds of terrorists. "It took two days to cleanse this place," he recalls. His mood is at a peak. He's missing a leg, but he's already looking for the kind of Paralympic sport he'll specialize in. Every minute guys come for a visit. Reliving those moments. The fallen comrades. The ambushes and the inferno fire that was dropped on them from all directions. The tourniquets that saved their lives.

This war produced quite a few amputees of legs and arms. "It was because of the evacuation time," a medical source told me, "there were serious problems with the evacuation, it took a long time, people were bleeding in the field, with temporary tourniquets, the doctors later had to amputate." There is no commission of inquiry here. There is a crazy reality here. No one prepared themselves for thousands of wounded in one day. At first, they brought everyone to Soroka, because that's the Pakal. It took a while to realize that Soroka was collapsing. Then they began flying them to hospitals in the center. All this took time. All this came up in quite a few legs. All this was inevitable.

In one of the rooms sits a man from the village of Gaza. Celebrated 56, the balloons are still in the room. He's relatively fine. He was in the safe room with his wife and daughter. The terrorists arrived. The battle of lowering hands on the handle of the safe room began. He on the one hand, they on the other. In the end, they gave up and he heard the "click" of the IED being pinned to the door. The bomb exploded while he was still with the handle. It flew to the opposite wall. Miraculously the door didn't open. The pins remained pinned to the wall, but the lock flew out and a hole opened. "The terrorists fired through the hole into the safe room. We clung to the wall. We were not hurt." Even earlier, they threw grenades into the house. I asked him why they hadn't thrown a grenade into the safe room, and that was it. "The hole was this undefined, asymmetrical, it was hard to thread a grenade there," he said. Will you go back to the village of Gaza?, I asked. "Of course," he replied, "as soon as possible."

IDF Activity in the Gaza Strip, Gaza/IDF Spokesperson

Nathaniel, Golenchik, sits in one of the rooms. He is skinny, black, smiling, quiet, modest. I estimate he weighs 50 pounds on a good day. He lost 18 of his friends at the Nahal Oz base on October 7. He killed 7 terrorists alone. Fought like a lion until night. Tells his incomprehensible story in a quiet voice, as if he went on a picnic as part of the "Red South", from our previous life. In front of him sits one of the richest people in the country. You know him. Closes with him on a pampering package of all existing brands, plus some that have not yet been invented. Nathaniel seems to not understand the commotion around him. He is bandaged on quite a few parts of his body. He still has quite a bit of time in rehabilitation. But he will come back. To Golani, but to where.

Around the rehabilitation hospital, and similar institutions in other hospitals, another crazy event is taking place: a crazy stream of philanthropists, donors, volunteers, oligarchs, tycoons and just plain Jews with warm hearts and hot pockets, who come from all corners of the world to see the heroes, sit with them, touch them and contribute to their rehabilitation. Heavy millionaires from the dairy community (mostly in New York or Canada), wealthy Jews from France, Britain, the United States and anywhere you can think of. All this is in addition to our rich people, who are also coming to the rescue. And most exciting: even just people. Simply Israelis who want to give, to contribute, what is, what is not, their time, their love, their attention and their care. It is impossible not to be amazed by this thing.

In the end we stopped at Nir's. Warrior in Givati. He was injured last April in a vehicular attack. Terrible injury. The vehicle slammed him into a Hummer jeep. He has already undergone 20 surgeries. Apart from his legs, blood vessels and internal organs were damaged, and he has been in rehabilitation for 8 months. But the punch, literally, is yet to come.

Video: IDF forces' activity in the Gaza Strip/IDF Spokesperson's Office

"When I was injured," he says, "my girlfriend was at the airport, on her way to a pre-draft trip with friends in the United States. Half an hour before the injury, we were on the phone. When she called me again, I was already anesthetized and on a ventilator. One of my friends told her that Nir had been injured in the attack. She immediately canceled the trip and flew, instead of to the United States, to the hospital."

The company accompanied Nir throughout the arduous rehabilitation process. She held his hand even when he lost tens of kilograms of weight on the hardest days. Persuaded him to get a tattoo on his hand with the inscription FAITH. Faith. Nir got better and better, got stronger. His girlfriend was happy. A few months ago she enlisted. She took an observation course. She was assigned to a base in Nahal Oz. She arrived at the end of the week, was supposed to enter her first observation shift on Sunday, October 8. One day earlier, on Saturday, she was kidnapped in Gaza. Leary Elbag. Yes, this is Nir's company, from the rehabilitation at Sheba. Now he's holding her fingers, but she's not next to him. Her friends had the same tattoo tattooed on their hands. FAITH.

It was impossible to get out of there, from the rehabilitation hospital. In every hallway, on every staircase, you meet someone. We are stopped by a smiling guy with a kippah. An officer in Cherry. He was seriously injured on October 7. Lost half of his friends. "It was a terrible battle," he tells us, "at a certain point I realized I wouldn't get out alive, the goal was to kill as many terrorists as possible." In the end, he came out alive. Seriously wounded, but alive. And he will return to the cherry, at any cost.

"They put a tourniquet on him 3 times in the field"

Last but not least, Issachar Cohen. Lives in Netivot. That is, in a seat adjacent to the lanes. He was a tank mechanic for 31 years. Pensioner. Driving in his car on October 7, the noise began, the color red, dozens of rockets and interceptors in the sky. "I stopped the car and did what was necessary, I lay down next to it, not on the side of the road, put my hands on my head, a huge piece of shrapnel flew under the car and blew my leg away. Just like that, I cut off my leg in a second."

Issachar was bleeding rapidly from the main artery. Three times they put a tourniquet in the field. "The third time it was an ultra-Orthodox man who knew what he was doing," he recalls, "he put a tourniquet on me and put a strong pressure on the main artery, that's what saved me." At the hospital he had already received many units of blood and his life was saved. Issachar is the living spirit in rehabilitation: "I encourage everyone, raise your head, life is beautiful," he told me, "with a leg, without a leg, in the end we will win."

When you get out of there, you also understand why. Why can we be surprised, we can be hurt, we can be killed, and we can be abused. But we can't be beaten.

  • More on the subject:
  • Iron Sword War
  • War in Gaza
  • Wounded
  • Soldiers
  • Idf
  • Rehabilitation

Source: walla

All news articles on 2023-12-04

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