Tours of Happiness
A Tour of
While American 18+ year-olds are safely away at colleges across the US making memories to last a lifetime, the young men and women of the IDF are serving on the front lines, risking their life and limb to ensure the safety of the Holy Land and the Jewish people. The injuries sustained by these young soldiers during their years of service forever changes the course of their lives. We are deeply indebted to these courageous heroes.
Each year, Belev Echad hosts groups of these wounded warriors as a small gesture of gratitude to the men and women to whom we owe so much. Our ten-day tours provide respite for the body and psyche through visits to classic city sites, shows, sporting events, and community activities that heal the spirit and soul, creating memories and friendships that last a lifetime.
"I want to thank you very much for all of the amazing experiences I had over the last 10 days, it’s incomprehensible to me... We received from you and Belev Echad, treatment which was above and beyond what was necessary. You made all of our dreams come true and you are a man of gold with a great heart...I love you very much and we will meet again soon."— Shlomi
Meet the soldiers of
the October '23 South Africa tour!
Aviv served as an NCO in the border guard in Jerusalem for 8 months, helping combat soldiers prepare for the ethical aspects of their service and missions. After 8 months she was sent to officer course. During the course, she planned to spend a week in the city with her unit, which was supposed to start with a tour along the promenade of the governor’s palace. While she and her unit were waiting there for the tour, a terror attack took place – a terrorist ran the unit over with a truck. Four soldiers died and Aviv was critically injured and suffered both internal injuries and orthopedic injuries in her spine and legs. After 4 months in the hospital, learning basic functions such as sitting or walking, she was released from the military. 8 months later, after a long rehabilitation, she went back to the military to finish the officer course and served as an education officer in the air force for the rest of her service.
Michal Azogui, 27
Michal served as a rookie squad commander and later as a rookie division officer in the military police force, where she spent most of her service. She was transferred to a prison branch at the headquarters of the Military Police Force for her last 6 months where she was responsible, among other things, to expose soldiers to the prison service. During a tour with soldiers at a prison facility, while witnessing a demonstration of the IPS lender unit’s capabilities, which included a presentation involving the use of a stun grenade, Michal suffered injuries from the grenade to her face and specifically her eye, which could not be saved. After a short home recovery, Michal made the decision to return and complete her service as originally planned, while continuing to undergo aesthetic treatments to aid in the rehabilitation of the face and to fit a prosthetic eye.
Stav was drafted into the military in 2011 and served as a combat soldier in the Golani brigade. In August 2014 operation protective edge started and Stav took part in the fighting together with this platoon. While waiting to be called into Sajiya, they saw injured and fallen soldiers, some of whom Stav was friends with from the army and from childhood, being sent back into Israel. Inside Sajiya and during the fighting Stav also suffered a physical injury due to a grenade, leaving him hurt both physically and emotionally. The impact of these losses and the events that unfolded in Gaza affected Stav’s health and well-being greatly. He understood he needed to get help and started rehabilitation, which he did. After a very challenging journey with many difficulties, he is in a different and better different place now, but acknowledges that “rehabilitation is an ongoing process”.
Mordechai was enlisted into the Israeli combat engineering corps in 2011. Throughout his service, he served both in the area of the Jordan Valley and the Gaza Strip, participating in various operational activities both within Israel and beyond its borders. As Mordechai’s military service was nearing its end, he went on vacation, not expecting to return to duty. However, fate had other plans, as Operation Protective Edge commenced shortly before his scheduled liberation. Mordechai was called back to rejoin his battalion, heading into the intense fighting in Gaza. During the operation, the battleground was filled with heavy artillery and fierce combat. Immediately upon their entry to Gaza fighting began, and Mordechai got injured, suffering severe injuries from shrapnel that scattered throughout his body – impacting his head, face, and limbs. He spent 4 months in the hospital and continued for a successful two years of rehabilitation (including neurological rehabilitation) with the goal of restoring basic abilities such as memory and conversational skills.
In 2015, Ron served as a combat soldier in Bethlehem. During one of his guard duties, he heard a sudden loud noise and instinctively pulled his head out of the post to investigate. Tragically, a second loud explosion occurred at that moment, causing him injuries from the shrapnel. Despite being wounded, Ron displayed immense courage and dedication, ensuring that there would be no infiltration of terrorists into the base. Following the incident, Ron was rushed to a hospital for urgent surgery to address the shrapnel injuries. Unfortunately, the damage was severe, and he ultimately had to undergo the removal of his left eye, resulting in permanent loss of sight in that eye. After enduring several months of rehabilitation, Ron now uses a prosthetic.
Dikla served as a combat soldier in the Home Front Command, a unit dedicated perform rescue missions for civilians and to safeguard the country’s civilian communities and land. After seven months of intensive training and preparation, her battalion was sent on a week of vacation. That week was cut short as they were unexpectedly called into action as an auxiliary force for another Brigade due to tensions escalating in the country. During a 12-hour shift securing Adam Square, while she and her fellow soldiers were away from the other members of her unit, Dikla helped conduct a security check on Palestinians. While securing her friend, a Palestinian terrorist took advantage of the opportunity to strike from behind, stabbing her in the neck and back. Her friend managed to neutralize the terrorist and prevent a larger-scale attack from occurring, but Dikla suffered severe physical and mental injuries.
Dalia Plotnikov, 23
Dalia served as a combat soldier in the Border Police, a military service she describes as the most challenging but fulfilling experience. During a very tense time in Israel, in May 2019, and following another security escalation, Dalia together with a team of four other combat soldiers from her unit was sent to Nablus for a mission. Unfortunately, on the way, an Arab driver collided with their vehicle, causing it to overturn completely. Dalia sustained serious injuries, including fractures in two vertebrae, injuries to her spine, a dislocated shoulder, and stitches. She went through a long journey of rehabilitation, in and outside of the hospital, using a wheelchair for most of it until she was able to walk again. To this day Dalia undergoes physical therapy and psychological regularly.
Dror was a combat soldier in the Artillery forces and was involved throughout his military service in ongoing operational activities in the Judea and Samaria area. During his unit’s training, Dror’s team traveled at night through challenging and rugged terrain with the Corps’ engineering tools. Due to a misguidance in night navigation, they continued ahead to what was a 12-meter chasm, fell with the vehicle, and flipped multiple times they were rescued and evacuated to the hospital. Dror suffered vertebral fractures in his back, which resulted in him spending 8 long months lying in bed, unable to move, until he could start walking again. Aside from his physical injuries, he struggled with a lot of self-accusations, constantly questioning what he could have done differently to prevent the accident. Today Dror is gradually healing, both physically and mentally.
Elyosef Haim Malkieli
Elyosef served as a platoon commander in the Golani brigade. During Operation Protective Edge, Elyosef’s platoon was sent on a mission in a neighborhood Sajiya, a neighborhood known to be extremely dangerous due to terror groups occupying this area. The platoon went in with an armored personnel carrier, and just before they managed to find and settle in one of the houses in the area fighting began all around them. Trying to get in the house and accomplish the mission and fight back, Elyosef, still from inside the vehicle, threw a grenade inside to clear the way for his soldiers. The grenade, unfortunately, ricocheted off the ceiling and came back toward the car and his soldiers. In a split-second decision to protect his comrades, Elyosef instinctively clung to the grenade, shielding his fellow soldiers from harm. While everyone miraculously survived, Elyosef suffered severe injuries to his hands and feet and went through long rehabilitation process.