Reuven Rivlin at recognition day
Reuven Rivlin at recognition dayKoby Gidon (GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin took part in the first Day of Recognition for Injured IDF Veterans and Victims of Enemy Attacks on Tuesday, taking time out to honor those who were wounded by terrorists and in their service defending the nation.

"The challenges which lie before us today are many and diverse," said Rivlin at the event. "They are just as social as they are security (based). We need to learn from you, what it is to commit to a process; what it means to be committed to a mission; what it means to be patient and have faith, in order to treat and cure the tensions within us."

"If I had been chosen to serve as President of Israel for the sole purpose of being here today, then for me, it would have sufficed," added Rivlin.

The event was held at the Beit Halochem center in Tel Aviv, where Rivlin was given a tour of the center's activities for disabled soldiers and terror victims, including the sports center and rehabilitation programs.

Likewise, Rivlin was treated to a game of wheelchair-basketball from front-row seats, and given a performance by a dance troupe of disabled veterans.

Speaking at the ceremony to mark the day, Rivlin also said "when the clouds of smoke have dispersed and the blood stains washed from the streets. So begins your journey. This is the battle after the war. The battle after the terror. A battle, not limited to time and place, and with no medals or awards. A battle that you fight with an injured body, and often, with an aching soul."

"A battle to breathe, to get up, to stand, to eat unassisted, to speak, to read and to write. To do up laces, buttons, to hold a cup without it falling. To hold a child in your arms. To sleep one night in peace and tranquility, free from nightmares and pain. This is a war of independence. This is your war," Rivlin said.

"Each day, you are demanded to conquer afresh, that which was already yours. But you do not stand alone. Israeli society, needs to learn from you not only what it means to be a hero, but also, and perhaps more importantly, what it means to cope, constantly and persistently, with challenges and obstacles."

The president concluded "may the next year see no more injured soldiers, or victims of terror."

An issue for nearly all Israeli families

Chairman of the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization Haim Bar also spoke at the event, saying "this is the first time in history that we have recognized and paid tribute to the many of our people with physical and mental injuries. We have gathered here today to hear their stories and to draw hope and strength from their road to recovery."

The timing of the new day of recognition was not a matter of change, as Chairman of Victims of Terrorism Yehoshua Cohen explained saying "this day has been set according to the Hebrew date of the UN vote on the 29th of November in 1947. On this day, we express our much deserved gratitude to the wounded soldiers and victims of terror."

Terrorism and wounds on the battlefield are unfortunately a part of Israeli life, said Director General of the Prime Minister's Office Harel Locker. He remarked "to our sadness, nearly every Israeli is connected to the family of those injured. I am personally deeply connected."

"In the cynical reality in which we live, it is important to remember and to recognize those people, who under the flag of Zionism, sacrificed their health, and their way of life," added Locker. "I will soon leave my position after three intensive years, during which we have advanced countless measures.  But the day of recognition for injured veterans and victims of enemy attacks and terror is in my view, the achievement of which I am most proud."

Rivlin at disabled IDF veterans' basketball game
Rivlin at disabled IDF veterans' basketball gameKoby Gidon (GPO)