we stand beside 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
Founders and Directors
Rabbi Uriel Vigler
Mrs. Shevy Vigler
Board of Directors
Daniel S. Bernstein
Doron AkivaMartial Arts Coordinator (Belev Echad alumni)
Gil BenedekCampus Program Coordinator
Raz BudaniCo-Director of Programs
Ido OzeriHospital Visitation Coordinator
Corporal in the Armored Corps, Injured in 2014 (Belev Echad Alumni)
Or PoratMentor Program Coordinator (Belev Echad Alumni)
Bentzi SassonDirector of Delegation Operations
Sharon & Miki ShtrachmanCo-Director of Israel Programs
Stav IsraelDogs4Soldiers Coordinator
Yahel LandauOperations Coordinator
Yair MashrakiSpecial Projects Coordinator
Shuri MoyalHouse Chef
Adir ZechariaGym Instructor
Davi Axel Melzinski
Yosef Amar, 21
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.
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.
Netanel Buchris, 23
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.
Shifron Nagaonkar, 23
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.
Maor Levi, 23
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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