we stand beside our soldiers

Standing behind
our soldiers

Belev Echad is an international initiative dedicated to easing this transition through a system of support that empowers each veteran to live a life without limits. We adopt each wounded veteran and assume the roles of mentor, advocate and friend, guiding them through critical medical, educational and professional decisions and celebrating life’s milestones big and small.

Since the founding of the State of Israel, hundreds of thousands of young Jewish men and women have risked their lives and limbs to protect the Jewish people and ensure the security of the Jewish Homeland. Many of these soldiers sustain physical injuries and even more are left with emotional scars that can be equally debilitating.

Founded in 2009 by Rabbi Uriel Vigler and his wife Shevy, Belev Echad began as an annual tour of New York City, as a gesture of solidarity and support for wounded warriors of the IDF. What started off as a local initiative of the New York Upper East Side Jewish community has now become a global movement dedicated to helping veterans of the IDF reintegrate into civilian life with the love and support they need to thrive.

We are now an essential part of healing, growing beyond just a vibrant community to a close-knit family. Together, we celebrate birthdays, marriages and births, provide resources and support through the big decisions, and show up when times are tough. These courageous young men and women have risked life and limb for the safety of the Jewish Homeland. Our work with these wounded veterans shows our solidarity and gratitude for their enormous sacrifice.

What Shevy and Rabbi
Vigler have done is
incredible, and we are
forever in debt to our
soldiers and what they
have done for us.
KIMBERLY
help-hero

Founders and Directors

  • Rabbi Uriel Vigler
  • Mrs. Shevy Vigler

Board of Directors

  • Daniel S. Bernstein
  • Yossi Nasser
  • Yaara Bank-Plotkin
  • Philip Silverman
  • Shay Zach
  • Richard Miller
  • Martin Nussbaum
  • Eliana Tisch

Our Team

  • Doron Akiva
    Martial Arts Coordinator (Belev Echad alumni)
  • Aviv Bar
    Media Coordinator (Belev Echad Alumni)
  • Gil Benedek
    Campus Program Coordinator (Belev Echad Alumni)
  • Raz Budani
    Co-Director of Programs
    Israel
    Major in the Golani Brigade, 2009
  • Shai Chiti
    Housing Coordinator (Belev Echad Alumni)
  • Eran Klier
    Couples Coordinator
    Chief Sergeant in the Airforce, Injured in 2018 (Belev Echad Alumni)
  • Orel Menachem
    Dog Program Coordinator
  • Ido Ozeri
    Hospital Visitation Coordinator
    Corporal in the Armored Corps, Injured in 2014 (Belev Echad Alumni)
  • Or Porat
    Mentor Program Coordinator (Belev Echad Alumni)
  • Bentzi Sasson
    Director of
    Delegation Operations
  • Sharon & Miki Shtrachman
    Co-Director of Programs
    Israel

There are over 50,000 wounded
IDF soldiers in need of our help.

Our Soldiers

  • Lichay Harush
    Age 25
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    Lichay Harush, 25

    While Lichay was working at a checkpoint, she heard shouts of ‘Allah Akbar’ and saw a terrorist stabbing her friend. Lichay shot the terrorist while he tried jumping on her though she managed to fend him off. She then summoned the strength to stabilize her friends’ injuries until medics arrived. Lichay received a citation of bravery. However, the images of the terrorist stabbing her friend and then jumping on Lichay to attack and kill her have left Lichay struggling with intense PTSD.

  • Gil Benedek
    Age 29
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    Gil Benedek, 29

    Unit: Golani Brigade
    Date of Injury: 2014

    Gil served in the Golani Brigade during the 2014 War, Operation Tzuk Eitan. On the day his unit entered Gaza, they were caught in an ambush, and the house they were in was bombed. As a result of the blast, Gil was blown away, which caused his shoulder to dislocate and head injuries. He was taken to hospital, underwent rehab, and finished his army service in a non-operational position. While on a post-army trip, his PTSD erupted. Gil returned to Israel for treatments that continue to this day.

  • Bar Zafrani
    Age 22
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    Bar Zafrani, 22

    Unit: Nachal Brigade
    Date of Injury: 2021

    While serving in Gaza during Operation Guardian of the Walls, Bar was seriously wounded. A missile directly hit the jeep he was in. Bar had shrapnel wounds to his head, ears and back, and needed multiple surgeries. He is still recovering and is currently in rehabilitation.

  • Sagi Cohen
    Age 34
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    Sagi Cohen, 34

    Unit: Golani Unit
    Date of Injury: 2008

    During Operation Cast Lead, Sagi and his unit advanced towards a target when they suddenly heard loud whistles and explosions. They realized that they had been struck with mortars, and were wounded. Sagi was hit with shrapnel. He was evacuated back to Israeli territory where he was hospitalized. Sagi underwent rehab for six months and then asked to return to service in the army, which he did.

  • Tali Ben Yosef
    Age 39
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    Tali Ben Yosef, 39

    Unit: Nurse
    Date of Injury: 2001-2002

    As part of her job as a medical nurse, Tali was called to assist security forces on the ground and in hospitals. Tali helped evacuate and treat many of the wounded and, unfortunately, also the dead. Because of this challenging experience, Tali still suffers from various physical injuries due to exertion and mental injuries due to the many traumatic exposures.

  • Doron Rapaport
    Age 28
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    Doron Rapaport, 28

    Unit: Armored Corps in Unit 401.
    Date of Injury: 2014

    In 2014, during training., Doron was rushed to Gaza where he was needed due to the sudden war “Operation Tzuk Eitan”. While in service, their tank fell into a pothole and the engine started to burn. After a long and scary night, Doron and his tank were rescued. The engine was replaced and they continued fighting. Doron fought in Gaza for 76 days where he was exposed to the traumatic reality of combat war. Doron witnessed events that deeply impacted him and the trauma endured affects him until today.

  • Haim Yakar
    Age 36
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    Haim Yakar, 36

    Unit: Chorev Unit
    Date of Injury: 2004

    During an operational activity, Haim and his unit went to Nablus to arrest some “wanted” people. They performed the arrest process and made their way to the evacuation vehicle. Before they managed to get into their car, they stopped to perform a force count and were met by heavy fire. Haim spent months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.  

  • Dalia Plotnikov
    Age 21
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    Dalia Plotnikov, 21

    Unit: Border Police
    Date of Injury: 2019

    Dalia and her unit were traveling towards Nablus when their car was hit and overturned. Dalia lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital. She suffered two vertebral fractures and underwent rehabilitation for several months. Since then, Dalia has continued physiotherapy and psychological treatments to manage the physical and emotional impacts of this life changing incident.

Who We Are

“A person that is deprived of a limb or a
faculty this itself indicates that G-d has given
him special powers to overcome the limitations
this entails, and to surpass the achievements
of ordinary people. You are not ‘disabled’ or
‘handicapped,’ but special and unique, as you
possess potentials that the rest of us do not.”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe
RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON
SPEAKING TO WOUNDED IDF VETERANS