Six wounded IDF soldiers biked and ran the past three days with hundreds of American ‘wounded warriors” in New York, one year after the U.S. troops visited Israel.
The Israel soldiers were sponsored by the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) to participate in the annual Wounded Warrior event. Most of the American soldiers suffered injuries in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The joint participation emphasizes the strong connection among wounded U.S. soldiers who fought far from home and among wounded IDF soldiers, who fought to defend their homes,” said FIDF spokeswoman Yafit Bachur.
This year's event in New York, which began in midtown Manhattan and continued outside of the city, took place despite sizzlingt heat and include a one-mile run in which 600 wounded veterans participated. Soldiers were able to participate in the bike run because of specially-made bicycles that can accommodate the limitations of the soldiers, some of whom are amputees.
The American soldiers included survivors of Pearl Harbor and the Battle of the Bulge.
Last November, “Wounded Warrior” war veterans visited Israel on a bike-riding tour and discovered that American mainstream media give a false picture of Israel. The tour began north of Tel Aviv and continued thorough Tiberias in the north and Nahariya on the northwestern Mediterranean , with side trips to Jerusalem.
"Back in the States, when we see Israel on the news, for example, it seems like a terror stricken country filled with war,” said a veteran nicknamed Big Joe last year. “But when we arrived here, we stood in front of a beautiful country. And it seems like IDF soldiers perform their duty with passion, even though they are obligated to serve. And I think that's what turns them into better citizens.”
This past April, the IDF Attache to the United States, Major General Gadi Shamni and his wife, hosted a dinner honoring American wounded warriors injured in Iraq or Afghanistan at the Embassy of Israel in Washington.
A Wounded Warrior Project video below describes the rehabiliation of the American soldiers.