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.

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
    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

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

Our Soldiers

  • Avraham Birsaw
    Age 34
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    Avraham Birsaw, 34

    Unit: Golani Brigade, Staff Sergeant
    Date of Injury: Nov 13, 2008

    During operational activity inside the Gaza strip to uncover underground tunnels, Avraham was shot in his left leg. He underwent multiple surgeries in Soroka hospital and continued onto a long rehabilitation in Rambam hospital.   He is still being treated by a psychologist and psychiatrist, as well as taking physiotherapy.  

  • Yair Fellous
    Age 28
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    Yair Fellous, 28

    Unit: Golani Brigade, Staff Sergeant
    Date of Injury: July 20, 2014

    During the Israel – Gaza conflict of 2014, Yair and his unit entered Shejaiya district in Gaza and were on a look-out to catch 9 terrorists who were trying to enter Israel through underground tunnels. They were ambushed and his close friend bled out and had died in Yair’s arms. He held his friend’s body for 15 hours until they got back to Israel. Since then his life has completely changed and he suffers from PTSD.    

  • Guy Elmakias
    Age 30
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    Guy Elmakias, 30

    Unit: Golani Brigade, Sergeant
    Date of Injury: March 26, 2010

    On his birthday, Guy and his unit were on call in an area close to the Gaza Strip border when they had an encounter with terrorists. Guy’s commanding officer had a grenade in his vest which blew up and killed him. As a result, Guy was hit by shrapnel which even entered his heart and is still there until today. He was transported to Soroka hospital and was hospitalized for 2 weeks, followed by months of treatments for his many scars and physiotherapy as well.

  • Liron Itach
    Age 27
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    Liron Itach, 27

    Unit: Nachal, Pioneer Combatant Youth, Staff Sergeant
    Date of Injury: July 25th, 2014

    During the Israel – Gaza conflict of 2014, Liron and his unit suffered injuries from an explosive device. He was hit with shrapnel in his legs and back that caused him 4 herniated discs. Until today he is being treated by a chiropractor and is also doing hydrotherapy.

  • Haim Yakar
    Age 35
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    Haim Yakar, 35

    Unit: Charuv Unit, Sergeant
    Date of Injury: July 17, 2006

    During a routine operation to arrest wanted terrorists in Nablus, a city in the Northern West Bank, Haim and his unit were ambushed and an explosive device went off. Terrorists started shooting at them, closing upon them in an alley without an escape way. Many of them were injured and one soldier died. Haim was hit by shrapnel in his left palm and left eye, his ankle also suffered an injury. He was taken to Tel Hashomer hospital to undergo an operation on his ankle and other treatments for his injuries, where he stayed for a week. He was moved to another hospital for a month and a half and afterwards he became an outpatient. The Physical recovery took about a year and during that time he had another surgery and got physiotherapy & Psychological treatments that lasted for 6 years.

  • Netanel Yosef Shefer
    Age 27
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    Netanel Yosef Shefer, 27

    Unit: Border Control Unit, Sergeant First Class
    Date of Injury: October 16, 2014

    While on a routine patrol as a Border control soldier Netanel was hit by a small firework that is sometimes used to cause injury to someone else without being charged since it is not a weapon. It went into his neck right under the ear and his hearing was lost on both ears. Netanel continued four months of rehabilitation that was not successful and the doctors determined that his hearing loss is permanent.

  • Etai Zvi Moshe
    Age 25
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    Etai Zvi Moshe, 25

    Unit: 603 Battalion, Second Lieutenant
    Date of Injury: March 6th, 2018

    During an operational activity near a construction site at the Lebanon border, a 2.5 ton wall collapsed. Etai noticed it was falling and tried to save himself. Sadly, he was not successful and the wall fell on his leg causing 2 open fractures and 5 fractures in his foot. The person in charge went into a state of shock and Etai had to guide the person who was controlling the machine to remove the wall off of him. 45 minutes later he was transported to Ziv hospital where he had emergency surgery to save his leg. Since then he had multiple operations done on his leg and has started physiotherapy. Today Etai is still doing physiotherapy and Hydrotherapy on a weekly basis and uses crutches.

  • Eran Menahem Ayubi
    Age 29
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    Eran Menahem Ayubi, 29

    Unit: Nachal, pioneer combatant youth, Staff Sergeant
    Date of Injury: August 1, 2013

    Eran served as a combat medic and was sent to help with Syrian refugees at the border of Israel and Syria. Many of the refugees were civilians and children suffering severe and even fatal injuries. Since then Eran suffers from PTSD.

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