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
  • Arielle Tradburks
    Arielle Tradburks

Our Team

  • Doron Akiva
    Martial Arts Coordinator (Belev Echad alumni)
  • Gil Benedek
    Campus Program Coordinator
  • Raz Budani
    Co-Director of Programs
    Israel
  • 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 Israel Programs
  • Stav
    Stav Israel
    Dogs4Soldiers Coordinator
  • Yahel
    Yahel Landau
    Operations Coordinator
  • Yair
    Yair Mashraki
    Special Projects Coordinator
  • Shuri
    Shuri Moyal
    House Chef
  • Ariel
    Ariel Schilp
    Administrator
  • Adir
    Adir Zecharia
    Gym Instructor
  • roi wildorf
    Roi Wildorf
    Media
  • davi axel melzinski
    Davi Axel Melzinski

Our Soldiers

  • Shalev Biton
    Age 22
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    Shalev Biton, 22

    Unit: Unit 101

    On the third day of Operation Guarding of the Walls, Shalev was with two other soldiers patrolling the Gaza border when Hamas terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at their jeep, causing a direct hit. One of the other soldiers in the jeep, Omar Tabib, was killed, and Shalev was critically injured. Shalev lost a leg, his right hand is not functioning, and his left hand is badly damaged. Shalev underwent 14 months of surgeries, hospitalization and rehab before being released from the hospital. He  is still recovering and goes to an inpatient program during the day for rehab, and Shalev will still need many more operations as part of his recovery.

  • Neria Nisanov
    Age 28
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    Neria Nisanov, 28

    Unit: Border Guard Company C

    In 2015, Neria was serving in the Old City on Erev Sukkot. There had been attacks a few days earlier, so the Old City was at the highest level of alertness. His deputy commander asked Neria to come with the means to disperse demonstrations near the Lions Gate.  When he arrived, Neria noticed close to 100 Muslim worshipers who, due to their age being under 50, could not enter the Temple Mount and pray. At some point, Neria noticed a suspect who refused to leave and wanted to enter the Temple Mount by force, even though he was younger than usual. He went over to help them and informed the suspect several times that he could not enter because he was under 50.  The man then tried to make bodily contact with Neria, which made him suspect that he had a weapon to attack him. Neria gave him a slight push, and the man started shooting him. Neria decided to arrest him for assaulting a police officer. They  began to fight each other when Neria felt that the Muslims around him were gathering around and trying to lynch him. He was surrounded by an angry crowd and  receiving  blows from all sides. 

  • Doron Akiva
    Doron Akiva
    Age 26
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    Doron Akiva, 26

    Unit: Rimon

    Doron enlisted in November 2014 and joined the sniper unit of the Givati Brigade. He later became part of the Commando Brigade as a sniper and head of Krav Maga. He was involved in many crucial activities and arrests in the Ramallah and Northern Shomron areas. On March 28, 2017, Doron and his entire unit entered Qalandiya to arrest a wanted terrorist. Doron was in charge of securing the house while others captured the terrorist. They apprehended the terrorist and began to leave the village when there was a commotion and rioting on the streets. Doron was hit by a block and fell, unable to move and vulnerable to more injuries. Doron needed a stretcher to evacuate, but his unit was worried getting a stretcher would dangerously delay their exit from the village. So Doron pushed through excruciating pain to walk out of the town with the assistance of his fellow soldiers. Doron could not move his left hand and had extreme pain in his neck, but he had no idea of the extent of the damage. After an hour and a half walk, Doron reached safety and was evacuated to Hadassah Hospital. After a CT and MRI scan, Doron was diagnosed with four tear fractures in the neck vertebrae. Doron spent months in bed, not moving, after which he started physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments. Eighteen months of hard work later, Doron was almost back to full mobility, but his world had fallen apart. Doron could no longer compete in MMA competitions or fulfill his world MMA championship dreams. He was lost and didn’t know what to do with his life. In July 2018, Doron joined Belev Echad on a trip to NYC, and everything changed. The support, love, and understanding he received changed his life. The long conversations about military service, the trauma of being injured during operational activity, and the transition from being a fighter in an elite unit to an injured person with a physical or mental disability. When Doron returned to Israel, he joined forces with Belev Echad to offer MMA training to soldiers, providing a place to vent their anger and create self-confidence. Today Doron is the proud coach and director of MMA, with 22 team members who come twice a week for training.

  • Allison Lasry
    Age 28
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    Allison Lasry, 28

    Unit: Jerusalem Police Station

    Allison was on shift in Jerusalem in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood as an anti-riot force in a police blockade. While working there, a car arrived out of nowhere and drove into her and her unit.  Allison was pinned under the car, her legs completely injured. She couldn’t move or do anything. Another soldier fell on her and was lying on part of her body. While Allison was pinned under the car and completely injured, she heard gunshots and the terrorist calling Allah Hu Akbar. She was on the driver’s side of the vehicle and listened to the driver of the car trying to open his door. Allison managed to pull out her gun but could not shoot the terrorist because of her angle pinned under the vehicle, and she might have hit other police officers instead. Suddenly another soldier came, jumped on top of Allison, and punched the terrorist through the window. Another police officer shot the terrorist, and shortly after, Allison was evacuated to the hospital to treat her injuries.

  • Eyal Hazan
    Age 20
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    Eyal Hazan, 20

    Unit: Megv Company MG IOSH

    After eight months of fighting as an active soldier, Eyal was injured in a terrorist attack in Hadera. Two Islamic Jihad terrorists were planning to shoot and kill Jewish residents and soldiers. During the terrorist attack, two of Eyal’s friends were murdered. Eyal was injured by three bullets fired by the terrorist directly at him. Eyal was treated in the hospital and currently undergoes daily rehabilitation, periodic surgeries, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and hydrotherapy. Eyal is working hard and hoping for a full recovery.

  • Arie Roth
    Age 37
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    Arie Roth, 37

    Unit: Combat Engineering

    Arye served in the engineering corps as a commander in the IDF’s Caterpillar D9 unit. He was injured in Operation Summer Rain. After returning from a mission in the dangerous Saajiah neighborhood, 2 explosive devices were fired at his team. The first one went straight through the window of the caterpillar he was riding in and hit Arye in the head and chest and he then lost consciousness.   Arye spent a considerable amount of time in hospital where doctors successfully removed the shrapnel from his head. His hospital stay was followed by a long time in rehabilitation.    A year or so after he was injured, his brother Roy was murdered in an attack at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva. This was extremely traumatic for him.   Since the injury he has experienced severe depression, PTSD and difficulties in life.

  • Ron Birman
    Age 25
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    Ron Birman, 25

    Unit: Fleet 3 Navy

    Ron was a deputy officer in the Navy and became a senior officer. Ron was part of the aircrew of a helicopter, which would work together with the navy ships.  One day, Ron’s helicopter crashed, off the coast of Haifa, and the two other soldiers who were with him were killed in the incident. Miraculously, Ron managed to extricate himself from the crashed helicopter. He was taken to the hospital, where he stayed for a week. A few months ago, Ron began to return to the army and his daily activities. Difficulties resulting from the crash are part of his daily routine, and Ron is working hard to overcome them.

  • Shir Shneorson
    Age 26
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    Shir Shneorson, 26

    Unit: Hatmar Intensive Care Unit Yehuda + Samaria

    Shir served as a combat medic and was at the site of many terrorist incidents during her army service. She cannot even count the many stabbing, trampling and other attacks she witnessed. Often Shir arrived after the wounded were evacuated, and she was left to pack the bodies of the terrorist. She packed up dozens of dead terrorists during her service to return them to the army base. During her army service, Shir remained very unemotional and did not allow herself to process her emotions at all.  After she completed her service, Shir was not the same person. Everything had changed because of the continuous trauma and horrors she was exposed to. Shir realized she needed help and met with a psychologist who diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder, which she continues to treat.

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