SUPPORTING Israel’s injured soldiers and victims of terror is the obligation of all Jews in the Diaspora.
That’s the view expressed by Zahal Disabled Veterans Organisation (ZDVO) president Michael Balkin, ahead of the organisation’s fundraiser in Sydney this month, which will feature two injured Israelis, a soldier and a victim of terror.
IDF reservist Ofir Anidjar sustained head injuries, as well as shrapnel to his arms and legs, while patrolling the Gaza border during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Civilian Nati Hakshur was sitting outside his parents’ home in Beersheva in August 2011 when a missile from Gaza landed on the car next to him, severely injuring his legs.
“Beit Halochem [ZDVO’s name in Israel] cares for civilians like they do with injured soldiers. We felt that it was good to showcase both sides of what the organisation does,” Balkin said.
“Both have severe injuries, and yet what’s really impressed us about them is their approach to life … for them, nothing’s changed. If either of them got called up they’d be happy to go very proudly. And I think those qualities, that resilience is inspiring, and the essence of Israel and the IDF.”
Supporters will have the opportunity to meet both men and their partners – the latter offering a different perspective on living with someone with an injury – at special screenings of the film 77:78 On The Map in Sydney.
“Not everybody gets an opportunity to actually meet an injured soldier or victim of terror – someone who has protected the State of Israel, someone who has put their life on the line,” Balkin said.
“I think it’s actually a real privilege that we here in Australia can actually meet someone like that. These guys get up every day and tackle the world – they’re studying, they’re playing competitive sport, they’re getting married, they’re going to have kids.
“They’re not victims, they’re really strong people and they’re a real inspiration to see how you can overcome disability, you can overcome wounds and you can get up and make the most of your life.”
Balkin called on the community to show its support at the events.
“The way I look at ZDVO is that it’s more than a traditional charity,” he said. “These guys have given really a major component of their life, with their injuries, to protect the State of Israel.
“So of all the causes that are out there, and there are many that are important – to me this is more than just a charity, it’s actually an obligation for Jews in the Diaspora.”
Join ZDVO for a screening of 77:78 On The Map and meet Ofir and Nati in Sydney on Sunday, February 21, 6pm and 6.30pm at the Entertainment Quarter, 6pm at Roseville.
Join a screening of Sabena and meet Ofir and Nati in Melbourne on Sunday, February 28 at Classic Cinema Elsternwick.
Bookings: www.zdvo.com or (02) 8332 2614.