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'Wounded Warriors' Visit Israel

For the second year in a row, a group of American wounded soldiers toured Israel and met fellow IDF soldiers.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/15/2011, 6:15 AM

For the second year in a row, a group of American wounded soldiers toured Israel on bikes with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

The ten-day “Soldier Ride” took them from the banks of the Dead Sea to the Western Wall in Jerusalem to the northern border with Syria. The program is intended to build community among the veterans and help them heal emotionally and physically. For most participants, it was their first trip to Israel.

The trip made the soldiers understand how much they have in common with one another.

“We have the same problems,” Jamal Daniels, a former U.S. Marine, said. “Be it U.S.A. or Israel, it’s the same issues going on. PTSD, amputations – it’s just the same thing.”

“The only difference I see is a language difference,” he added. “That’s it.”

Program founder Peter Honerkamp said that the soldiers “all had a life-changing experience. They’ve learned a lot about the country, they’ve learned how great Israel is and why Israel is right there alongside America, fighting the exact same battles. It was an amazing week.”

In August, six wounded IDF soldiers biked and ran for three days with hundreds of American “wounded warriors” in New York. The Israel soldiers were sponsored by the Friends of the IDF (FIDF).

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.

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.