Special surprise for mother of injured lone soldier

Jewish Agency Chairman plants tree with mother of Ori, who was injured in the recent ramming terror attack in Jerusalem

Yoni Kempinski ,

Special surprise for mother of injured lone soldier
Special surprise for mother of injured lone soldier
Mark Garcia

Jewish Agency Chairman Yitzhak Herzog visited the San Diego Jewish Academy on Friday to celebrate the Jewish Holiday of Tu B’Shvat and to offer support to Hagit Cohen-Hamo, a teacher at the school whose son Ori is the lone soldier injured in the terror attack at Jerusalem’s First Station.

Herzog, on a planned work trip to the West Coast, had an emotional meeting with Cohen-Hamo at the Jewish Academy – the school where she works and where Ori attended before making aliyah (immigrating to Israel). “Two days ago, Ori, a lone solider from San Diego, was injured in a horrific attack in Israel. Today Hagit, Ori’s mom, and I planted a tree at San Diego Jewish Academy where she works as a teacher, as a symbol of the unbreakable bond between Israel and world Jewry.”

Ori, who was born and raised in San Diego, made aliyah as part of Garin Tzabar of the Tzofim - Israeli Scouts movement, and joined the IDF in November 2019. Hagit, Ori's mother, told Herzog and San Diego community members that her son had grown up with a love for Israel and insisted on joining the IDF. She describes the moment she heard about the attack: “I spoke with Ori shortly before he went to tour Jerusalem. I was concerned about his health and asked him to wear warm clothes to protect him from the cold. Not a few hours passed and I received a call from my father who lives in Nazareth Illit. He said that Uri was injured in the attack and is hospitalized.” Cohen-Hamo added that from the moment she learned of his injuries, the Jewish Academy has provided her and the family full support, together with the San Diego community, the Tzofim, the Jewish Agency and many other organizations.

Herzog spoke about the special relationship between San Diego and Israel, which is also reflected in the partnership between the San Diego community and the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, including the Gaza border area, as part The Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether program.

“The solidarity among the Jewish people is also what motivated Ori to join the IDF,” "Herzog said, noting that over 1,000 young men and women annually, who made aliyah without their parents, are recruited through the Jewish Agency's absorption programs. “The lone soldiers are not alone - the Jewish Agency and the Merage Foundation Israel support these young olim (immigrants) through the Wings for Lone Soldiers project, together with Keren Hayesod and other donors, from the moment they arrive in Israel, throughout their military service, and even after their release from the army,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Herzog

Ori, who was injured in the car-ramming attack near the First Station complex, is currently hospitalized in Jerusalem. He is with his father Kobi, who came to surprise him at the swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall and instead made his way to the hospital. Several hours after the meeting with Herzog, Hagit Cohen-Hamo took off to Israel to be with her son and is expected to land Saturday evening. The IDF and Jewish Agency support system will continue to support the family.