US 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 tour of NYC provides 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 August '22 NYC tour!
Gal Shmul, 28
During Operation Protective Edge, Gal served as a soldier and medic. One day, 15 minutes into his mission, lone soldier Sean Carmeli, of blessed memory, was injured. While Gal desperately tried to save Sean, he saw a figure in the bushes behind them. He couldn’t ascertain if it were definitely a terrorist, and he decided not to shoot. Two seconds later, a shot was fired. Gal lay down and cried out, Shema Yisrael! Gal realized that this is our true strength. Gal continued fighting when two shells fell right near where he was. Shortly after seven fellow soldiers were killed in an APC Disaster. Gal suffers from PTSD due to the fighting and experiences he went through during that time.
Noam Garbi, 23
Noam served as a sergeant for a trainee class. On February 5th, 2020, he went on an educational tour of Jerusalem, which was meant to finish with a Tekes, the swearing-in ceremony at the Kotel. Just before 2 AM, his unit stopped in the German Colony, where they arranged their soldiers’ columns as usual. The class commander stepped aside to take a phone call, and Noam was chosen to head the platoon. Noam went and stood in the front. Suddenly, a terrorist came from behind him, driving a heavy vehicle and ran over Noam and ten other soldiers. Noam was severely injured in the incident, including a left calf fracture, two skull fractures and a cerebral hemorrhage.
Gal Rosenberg, 26
Gal enlisted as a combat engineer. After his training, he fought in the army. Due to the heavy weight and loads he carried, he suffered from four significant lower back disc herniations. This injury impacted his mental and physical state significantly.
Yotam Shimon, 29
Yotam served in the medic brigade during Operation Protective Edge. Part of his job was to assist the doctor with any incident the battalion encountered and provide medical response and evacuation. On the first night, a convoy of armor was hit and Yotam arrived to treat an officer who was wounded by shrapnel in his neck. His second experience was after the APC Disaster, he came with the platoon commander, but there was no one alive to help. The next day, Yotam was part of the group who collected the various body parts. Following these major incidents under fire and a few more “small ones”, Yotam developed post-trauma. Then Yotam was called up as an emergency reservist in 2021. Suddenly, his PTSD exploded. Since then he has been experiencing flashbacks, shame and other common PTSD symptoms. Yotam is in treatment, and working on receiving recognition from the Ministry of Defense.
Maor Levi, 24
During his army service, Maor was at an operational activity at Shaar Shechem, Nablus Gate. A terrorist came and tried to stab Maor’s friends. Maor pushed the terrorist away but the terrorist stabbed Maor and wounded him in the neck and on the entire left side of his body.
Shifron Nagaonkar, 24
On July 6, 2019, Shifron was on duty in the Palestinian town of Hizma, near Jerusalem, and received a report of people throwing rocks. They arrived and didn’t see anyone throwing rocks. They eventually found a place on the road full of stones and figured they were being thrown from the top of the hill. Shifron’s commander sent them up the hill to ensure no one else was there. On their way up the hill, a vehicle hit them from behind, injuring Shifron and his fellow soldiers. Shifron woke up in a hospital with injuries to both knees, his wrist, finger and head. He underwent a lengthy rehabilitation, including several surgeries and various treatments.
Netanel Buchris, 24
Netanel’s unit’s activities included ensuring ongoing security, reducing crime in the Bedouin society, and guarding against gunfire in the southern border areas. On March 27, 2019, while Netanel was on duty with two other soldiers, they identified a suspicious vehicle. They tried chasing the car, but it escaped. A while later, they spotted the car at the gas station. They ran towards the driver, but the driver wanted to escape at all costs and while he sped away he sprayed gas at the soldiers. The terrorist managed to run over Netanel’s leg and broke it quite seriously. Netanel was flown to Soroka Hospital where he underwent intense surgery on his leg. At first, his leg was paralyzed, but after long periods of rehabilitation, Netanel learned to walk again at the age of 21.
Nadav Wiersch, 31
In August 2014, Nadav was fighting in the Gaza War. Two hours after a cease-fire was brokered, terrorists emerged from an underground tunnel. They attacked soldiers operating in Rafah, killed two soldiers, and abducted Hadar Goldin whose body has still not been returned to Israel, for burial. Nadav was present during this incident and was deeply traumatized by the experience. The difficult scenes he witnessed scarred him, and it has been a long and challenging road to rehabilitation, with many obstacles along the way.
Yosef Amar, 22
During Operation Protection of the Walls in 2021, Yossi received a special permit to leave because his father had been in an accident that left him completely disabled. As he took leave, he was warned that he needed to be exceptionally careful as the area was very volatile, with daily terrorist attacks. Yossi was in the West Bank when he was attacked by a terrorist who sprayed him with pepper spray in his eyes while trying to grab Yossi’s weapon. At that moment, Yossi realized he was in battle, which wasn’t just about his life. Yossi recalled a similar incident where a terrorist attacked a soldier, took his gun, and injured innocent civilians. Yossi knew it was up to him to protect innocent civilians. Yossi couldn’t see because of the pepper spray, but he began wrestling with the terrorist. Yossi was trained in MMA and managed to get the terrorist on the floor. The terrorist managed to escape so Yossi chased and managed to grab ahold of him, and they continued their fight. Eventually, a police officer came and helped Yossi subdue the terrorist. Yossi was then evacuated to the hospital and treated for his injuries. Yossi returned to the army and received an outstanding from the police, the brigade, and the division commander for his bravery. When the war ended, a new battle began for Yossi. The struggle of dealing with and overcoming his PTSD is a journey that Yossi is still on.