In a picturesque resort town known as the Hamptons, located in New York, a glimmer of hope shines for eight Israeli soldiers. Amidst the alarming rise in PTSD and related suicides among Israel Defense Forces’ veterans, the commitment to healing has never been more profound.
Thanks to Belev Echad, a New York-based non-profit, these brave souls found solace. This heartwarming initiative was designed to extend a helping hand to those who’ve faced the horrors of combat, offering a sanctuary for recovery and emotional healing.
Nir Reuveni, an IDF paratrooper hailing from Netanya, recounts his arduous journey with PTSD. Following a nearly fatal incident during an operation in Lebanon, Reuveni’s life took a tumultuous turn. The nightmares began, haunting him of the terror that once was. Yet, amidst the darkness, Belev Echad reached out, promising light.
“The sun, the glistening pools, the sumptuous food, and the incredibly kind-hearted people here in the Hamptons have given us a sanctuary. They’ve embraced us, helping us feel ordinary, giving us the strength to rebuild,” expressed an overwhelmed Reuveni.
Leading this trip was Gil, a 31-year-old veteran whose story resonates deeply. After confronting terrorists in Gaza, Gil’s life was forever changed. Although physical injuries healed, the emotional scars of the past manifested as PTSD. However, Belev Echad was there, guiding him towards a brighter future, and helping him become an accomplished accountant today.
Unfortunately, the magnitude of PTSD’s impact is vast. The heart-wrenching incidents of Bar Kalaf and Or Donio, both IDF reservists who tragically took their own lives, underline the urgency of addressing this crisis. The alarming statistic reveals that suicides among soldiers have surged nearly 20% since 2022.
Rabbi Uriel Vigler, co-founder of Belev Echad, voiced his concerns, “PTSD is an insidious affliction, gnawing away at one’s spirit. Our mission is to support our soldiers both physically and emotionally, offering hope, camaraderie, and avenues for a meaningful future.”
Generous Hamptons residents, Gabe and Yaara Plotkin, opened their hearts and homes to these valiant soldiers. “By merely listening to their tales, appreciating their sacrifices, we honor these heroes. Their courage and resilience exemplify the spirit of our great nation,” expressed Yaara.
To conclude, Israel stands tall, celebrating the undying spirit of its people. Our values of community, resilience, and love are the pillars that hold us high. As we rally together, championing our heroes, we are reminded that in unity lies our strength. Israel’s magnanimity, compassion, and commitment to its soldiers shine brightly, echoing the nation’s eternal promise – to protect, honor, and cherish.