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Chairman’s Message – Rosh Hashana 5779

As my life was hanging in the balance, with devastating wounds, I vividly remember every detail of my team risking their own lives in order to rescue me. The next painstaking 10 months are more of a blur, as I struggled physically with the extensive damage [to my body], and emotionally with my new situation.

Fernando Gotthilf today.

Fernando Gotthilf today.

Dear Friend,

This Rosh Hashanah let’s not forget the heroic men and women who have protected Israel for all of us for 70 years. Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans-Beit Halochem is there every day to help the 51,000 disabled service men and women, terror attack survivors, and their families.

Beit Halochem, a warm home away from home, offers special programs for the most severely disabled; individualized physical and hydro therapies; a safe place for dealing with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries; a wide range of sports rehabilitation opportunities; scholarship assistance for pursuing university degrees and professional certifications; a range of arts and education programs; family-oriented activities; and advanced sports training!

One of these heroes is Fernando Gotthilf.

Fernando with his unit.

Fernando with his unit.

A proud Israeli who made Aliyah in 2008 when he was 16 years old, Fernando settled in Ra’anana. He joined the Special Forces of the Giv’ati Brigade and graduated from the Squad Commander’s Course. In July 2011, he and his corps were sent to the border with Lebanon/ Syria. Near Har Dov, he and his squad were ambushed, and he was shot. The bullet wreaked havoc in his internal organs and his spine. He lost all sensation in both legs from the knees down.

At our Beit Halochem centers in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beer Sheva, we help our wounded veterans during the long and challenging process of rehabilitation. Many of our heroes become champions in Paralympic sports, from swimming, golf, and cycling, to wheelchair dancing, rowing and tennis.

Please support their recovery! Make a generous New Year gift to Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans-Beit Halochem of $54, $72, $108, $360, or another amount. You can make a gift any time here.

Fernando at Beit Halochem Tel Aviv.

Fernando at Beit Halochem Tel Aviv.

After Fernando was evacuated by helicopter to Rambam Medical Center, he spent two months in intensive care, followed by 7 months at a rehab center where he relearned many basic skills: how to get off the bed  onto a wheelchair, get up from a wheelchair, walk with a walker, with crutches, and finally, to walk with a cane.

Then he came to Beit Halochem Tel Aviv, for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments. He worked out at the Fitness Center, focusing on regaining his strength. Fernando continues coming to Beit Halochem almost every day.

Give now with an open heart, the most generous gift you can, to FIDV-Beit Halochem and help these men and women rebuild their lives. This is our duty: we cannot do this without you!

You will be repaying their courage and enabling their dreams. THANK YOU!

With best wishes of L’Shana Tova,


Michael Leichtling, Chair
Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans-Beit Halochem

PS: Today Fernando wears custom-made braces on each leg and walks with a single cane. He serves as a good will ambassador for Beit Halochem, sharing his story of overcoming disability, beginning life anew, and facing the future with strength and optimism.


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