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 May '22 NYC tour!
Liran Dimri, 38
During Liran’s military service, he fought terrorists in the Gaza Strip. While Liran was serving in Jerusalem, two terrorists got on a bus and attacked civilians. Liran killed the terrorist, keeping thousands of others safe. Unfortunately, a military Jeep killed a friend of his. These experiences gave Liran severe PTSD, which creates ongoing challenges in his life.
Eldad Levin, 37
Eldad served in the Golani Brigade. He went with his unit to Shechem/ Nablus to locate and arrest a known terrorist. At a certain point they could no longer travel in the vehicle, so they got out and continued on foot. An explosive device attached to the wall near them was activated remotely and exploded right where they were. One soldier died on the spot, and five other soldiers were injured along with Eldad who needed hospital treatment.
Netanel Shahar, 29
During his service, Netanel worked with the dog unit to locate explosives. During the Gaza War, he worked in the Northern Gaza Strip. Two days after leaving Gaza, white spots appeared by Netanel’s eye and then slowly spread to large parts of his face. Netanel was diagnosed with vitiligo, an autoimmune skin disease that breaks out in stressful situations. His work in Gaza had taken a toll on him. He was treated for over half a year at Tel Hashomer Hospital without significant improvement. At that point, Netanel decided to learn to live with the disease and not fight it.
Elior Elias, 29
Elior enlisted and planned to join the Israeli Navy. After six months, he transferred to become part of the border police. While in an officer training course, Elior experienced tremendous pain and blood in his urine. After receiving treatment, experts told him that the significant back loads impacted Elior’s physique and physical condition.
Oren Nathan, 22
Oren served in the paratroopers’ brigade. During an exercise with his unit, a bullet was ejected that hit his major artery and the hand’s nerves. Oren is currently being treated for this injury and is in physiotherapy.
Matan Eizenberg, 24
Matan was a commander in the Golani unit in the Chevron area. One night, he gave his soldiers a briefing before going out into position. They practiced their positions and unloaded. As Matan was heading to sleep, one of his soldiers asked to show him an exercise he had learned in Krav Maga. Matan thought the weapon had been unloaded, but when the soldier started practicing on Matan, a bullet was fired, and Matan was hit. He spent two months in the hospital and another year in rehab. He underwent four surgeries, lost a lot of blood, had fractures in his pelvis, a tear in the major artery and central vein in the leg, and a tear in his bladder. Because of the blood loss, Matan also damaged his optic nerve. He is still recovering to this day.
Elad Tschuva, 29
Elad was in a combat unit in the army and was injured in his back. He then transferred to a rearguard position as a combat medic on the Syrian border. Elad evacuated and treated the wounded at the border. This experience was profoundly scarring, and Elad suffers from PTSD until today.
Omer Mor, 26
Omer joined the army in 2014 in the Kravi Units and was part of an intelligence unit which worked with targeted observations within enemy territory. During his advanced training, he experienced severe inflammation in his shoulder due to the heavy weights. After two weeks, the pain subsided. Four months later, while serving in Lebanon, Omer carried heavy loads weighing up to 50% of his body weight. As a result, the pain in his shoulder returned, but this time, even more severely. After several visits to doctors, who did not believe it was anything more severe than a shoulder infection, Omer could barely function. He could not sleep, eat or move his right hand. He was eventually hospitalized and underwent emergency surgery which lasted 6 hours and required five surgeons. The surgery was defined as moderately life-threatening. He was in ICU for two days after the surgery and ultimately required six surgeries. The doctors discovered that Omer was suffering from a strep bacterial infection that mutated due to the inflammation in the shoulder. It spread throughout the right hand and chest, essentially eating the soft tissues of the muscles. Omer spent five months in the hospital and underwent a one-year rehabilitation that included physical therapy, hydrotherapy and occupational therapy until he reached a relatively complete state of functionality.
Ohad Shmilovich, 34
During the Second Lebanon War, Ohad was part of a “ZAKA company” and evacuated the bodies of soldiers of the Golani Brigade on stretchers. The following day, they transported the bodies of the terrorists from the battle. After that, Ohad mainly evacuated the wounded to helicopters. As a result of what Ohad saw while evacuating dead and wounded soldiers from battle, he now has significant PTSD.
Erez Blumenthal, 30
Erez served as a soldier and commander during multiple operations into Gaza. During Operation Tzuk Eitan, he experienced intensive fighting in the Khan Yunis neighborhood of Gaza. During one of the attacks at night, Erez’s tank overturned, and they were stuck for several hours until the rescue force reached them. Erez suffered from a spinal cord injury and other injuries. He was also recently diagnosed with PTSD.
Bar Hadad, 25
Bar served as a lieutenant colonel near the Israeli-Jordanian border. He would often go out for arrests, weapons searches, ambushes, thwarting smuggling on the border, and also dealing with, among other things, riots. The job kept Bar on high alert all the time, at every incident, he was the first to arrive with the commander to keep control until more forces arrived. During one of the activities to find weapons in a village near Nablus, Bar was part of a convoy of armored vehicles when suddenly they were under fire. They offloaded from the vehicles to find the source of the shooting, while terrorists continued to throw explosives and fireworks at Bar and the rest of the unit. Bar had many experiences where rocks, blocks, explosives, and Molotov cocktails were thrown at him, even setting his vehicles on fire. Following the riots, Bar and his unit were often in physical friction with the Palestinians, and he also saw Palestinians wounded and killed in the service. In between these experiences, Bar had tremendous feelings of insecurity. He had nightmares, where he felt that he was going to die or be disabled. When he had off, he would usually lock himself in the house and rarely meet with friends. Bar was afraid to talk to the commander about his fears because he worried about losing his job. It is often very difficult for Bar to fall asleep at night, and he struggles to stay asleep and dreams about the events he experienced in the army. Whenever Bar hears a siren, fireworks, an object that falls hard onto the floor, or even a car’s exhaust, he is taken right back to those challenging moments during his service.
David Axel Melnizky
While patrolling the area of Sha’ar Shchem in Jerusalem, David was attacked from behind by a terrorist. At first he did not see a weapon in the terrorist’s hand so he fought back without a weapon, using only his hands. The struggle escalated and the terrorist tried to run away. David chased him along with other unit members who witnessed the fight. They had used pepper spray and at that point David was stabbed in his leg by the terrorist. Afterwards he was taken to Hadasa hospital for treatment.