FIDF supporters bike across Israel
FIDF supporters bike across IsraelGilad Kavalerchik

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) hosted its 7th Annual Israel Bike Mission – an intensive six-day bicycle ride through Israel – from November 11-17. Joining FIDF supporters for this cross-country ride was a group of wounded Israeli combat veterans who have benefited from rehabilitative programs and prosthetic devices sponsored by FIDF. The ride routes were designed by Roy Goldstein, two-time Israel cycling champion.

Beginning in the southernmost city of Eilat, the riders headed north, cycling along the Egyptian border where they stopped for a special base visit with the Faran Brigade, a unit responsible for securing Israel’s southern border with Egypt.

Participants met with the soldiers guarding the border and had the rare opportunity to ride down “Road 10,” an army thoroughfare not usually open to civilians. They also visited the Magav instructional base in Beit Horon (a base for border police) where they met with deputy commanders who introduced them to the unit’s special equipment and shared challenges they face.

Among the riders was Shlomo Nimrodi, a former platoon commander in the elite Shaldag Unit in 1978, who lost his leg following an IED explosion. Another participant was Itzhik Gabbay, an esteemed IDF wounded veteran who served in the IDF for 25 years. Itzhik was the former commander of a combat unit. He lost his leg in a combat-related injury.

Both Shlomo and Itzhik received their sports prosthetic thanks to FIDF’s Wounded Soldiers Program which helps disabled and newly injured Israeli combat soldiers reclaim their lives following a severe combat-related wound, injury, or trauma. Culminating in Jerusalem, the exhilarating ride allowed the participants, all of whom are avid cyclists, to show solidarity with and support for Israel’s soldiers while learning about the historical and geographical background of the country and its borders. Activities for non-cyclists who participated in the trip were available as well.

“We were thrilled to have hosted our 7th FIDF Annual Ride in Israel. Biking across the country with wounded veterans helped participants truly experience the land, and the impact FIDF makes on the brave men and women who benefit from our programs,” said FIDF Midwest Executive Director Tamir Oppenheim. “This experience provided an incredible opportunity for FIDF supporters to explore Israel in a unique and challenging way.”