Five former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who were wounded during their military service participated in the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Soldier Ride alongside wounded U.S. veterans in Manhattan and Long Island last week. The Israeli participants included wounded veterans Itzik Gabai, Shmuel Desalei Mashasha, David Peretz, Yuval Carmel, Lt. (Res.) Nir and their trainer, Yosef Ariav.
The Israeli veterans came to New York thanks to Friends of the IDF (FIDF), which partnered with WWP for the event. Most IDF participants are part of the FIDF Strides program, which helps injured veterans rediscover their strength by providing advanced prosthetics for athletic activities including running, biking and other sports.
“This unique cycling ride was a wonderful opportunity for wounded service members and veterans from the U.S. and Israel to bond and share experiences,” IDF veteran and FIDF Strides participant David Peretz said. “Being part of the WWP Soldier Ride and meeting the FIDF supporters who made the Strides program possible was an amazing experience.”
Peretz added, “FIDF’s Strides has enabled many wounded IDF veterans to take part in sports activities, and for that we will be forever grateful.”
The wounded veterans from the U.S. and Israel, whose militaries often share information and work together on training exercises, formed deep bonds as they rode together, sharing personal and often all-too familiar stories.
Every year, WWP conducts an adaptive cycling event to provide an inclusive experience for wounded servicemen and women and to spread awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project and its many programs. This year, the WWP rides took place in Manhattan on July 16, in Babylon on July 17 and in the Hamptons on July 18.