The National Day of Recognition of Israel’s Injured Soldiers and Victims of Terror
The National Day of Recognition of Israel’s injured soldiers and victims of terror, known as Yom Hahokara, honours those who pay a heavy price in defence of the State of Israel.
In 2014, the Israeli government approved the proposal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat to set an annual day of appreciation for those who have been wounded in Israel’s wars and in terrorist attacks. Its purpose is to provide its citizens with an opportunity to connect with wounded veterans and create awareness about their personal stories of bravery, their daily struggles with physical and emotional injuries, and to strengthen public recognition of their contribution to Israel.
This year, Yom Hahokara will be celebrated on 3rd December throughout Israel in accordance with the Ministry of Health regulations. The education system and youth movements will hold educational and informational activities on the issue. Local councils will hold appreciation events and activities and the Israel Sport Association for the Disabled will hold competitions in various sports to which the public are generally invited. Those injured in Israel’s wars and in terrorist attacks are encouraged to meet with students and other members of the public to share their stories and receive acknowledgement.
It is a day that is especially significant for ZDVO Beit Halochem Australia who supports the care and rehabilitation for its 50,000 injured soliders and victims of terror who are members of its four Beit Halochem rehabilitation and sports centres located in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beér Sheva. A fifth centre is currently under construction in Ashdod to better service its members in the area.
In 2017, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “I know that you deal, every day, with injuries to your body and soul. I want you to know that you are not alone. All of Israel’s citizens embrace you, knowing you have paid a price for each and every one of them. This is a national embrace.”
Yom Hahokara will be meaningful for ZDVO member Shuki Gilboa who trained in the elite IDF Sayeret Matkal unit and volunteered in a security first response team near Jerusalem. In June 2016, Shuki was seriously wounded in the horrific terror attack where 13-year-old Hallel-Yaffa Ariel was murdered in her bed. Shuki sustained gunshot wounds to his face that blinded him in one eye, as well as extensive lacerations to his chest and legs. After starting physiotherapy at Beit Halochem Jerusalem, Shuki also began volunteering with younger injured soldiers, helping them to overcome their many physical and emotional challenges.
A 9th grader in Herzliya said “This day is enormously important for me; it helped me realise that enjoying a safe life should not be taken for granted. It taught me that many people had to experience very difficult moments so that we can feel protected and live safely.”
Around the world, thousands of children show their love and support by writing thank you postcards to Zahal wounded veterans, turning this wonderful initiative into a truly world-wide effort. Watch the video below: