About 500 people attended Ronit Farm on Saturday night (24.12) to take part in the traditional event in honor of wounded IDF soldiers and members of security forces who have been rehabilitated at the Loewenstein hospital. The event was organized by Ora and Yair Shani, together with the Organization of Disabled IDF Veterans and the Association of Friends of the Loewenstein Hospital. Participating in the event were hospital management, therapeutic staff, and members of the Friends Association.
The event opened with a political speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, followed by the Prime Minister lighting the first Hanukkah candle with Amazia Fensterheim, fighter in the engineering company of the paratroopers. Amazia was wounded during the Tzuk Eitan operation, in a battle in which four of his comrades were killed by a roadside bomb in Khan Younis. Amazia was the first fighter in the Tzuk Eitan operation to come for rehabilitation to Loewenstein Hospital, to the Orthopedic Rehabilitation Department. The Prime Minister was joined for the menorah lighting by: Eli Defes, the CEO of Clalit, Prof. Amiram Catz, Director of Loewenstein Hospital, and Dr. Dudu Dagan, Chief Medical Officer.
Prof. Amiram Catz, Director of Loewenstein Hospital, addressed the audience and said: "Hanukkah symbolizes the triumph of spirit and sophistication over the material, however strong or numerous it might be. It is a wonderful occasion to celebrate the victory over the severe wounds to body and soul. The success of our patients, who felt and were considered to be struggling against all odds, but received help from our doctors and therapists, which produced new opportunities and brought them to realization. On behalf of all Loewenstein staff, I salute the wounded soldiers and members of our security forces, those who returned to be part of Israeli society, which embraces them, and who contribute their talents to society; those who returned to independence and high-quality life; those who realized their latent capabilities after they had been wounded; and also those who still have a long way ahead of them toward improvement and realization of their capabilities."
At the event, a moving documentary was screened about the rehabilitation journey of Ophir Cohen, a paramedic in the 53rd battalion of Armored Brigade 188, who sustained a critical head injury from a mortar shell during the Tzuk Eitan operation. Ophir still continues the process of his rehabilitation at Loewenstein, and his physicians and therapists are confident that significant achievements await him in the future.
The second part of the evening consisted of a gala dinner accompanied by performances of Si Heiman, Moran Mazuz, Tal Sondak, and others.
Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital of the Clalit Group has been rehabilitating wounded soldiers since the Six Day War to the present, and has many years of experience treating soldiers. Over the years it developed a close relationship with the IDF and the Defense Ministry. Since its establishment, the hospital has rehabilitated hundreds of soldiers in active and reserve service, who were injured in battles, accidents, and terrorist attacks.
Photo credit: Oren Jezreel / Silvia G. Golan .