Gur, finally able to hike again.
October 23, 2007 / 11 Cheshvan 5768
As an only child Gur Nedzvetsky, 22, was exempt from joining a combat unit when he was drafted to the Israel Defense Forces. However, this idealistic, Zionistic young man wanted to serve his country and test the limits of his physical and personal endurance. At the age of 18 he was accepted into an elite paratroopers unit. His mother, who taught Hebrew secretly in Estonia and made aliyah with Gur when he was five, was wary of his decision.
"My mother and I lived in London while I was in high school, but after seeing the Intifada on TV, I returned to Israel to join the army. This is the right place to be," says Gur.
For the first two years and nine months of his three-year service Gur carried out clandestine missions in Jenin, Nablus and other Palestinian Authority areas. Right before war broke out with the Hizbullah in July 2006, Gur's special task force of twelve soldiers was called in to carry out a reconnaissance and demolition mission. They were the first ground forces sent into Lebanon.
"I had many tasks during this mission," says Gur. "I was the medic and the navigator, and I was at the side of my officer as he led the forces."
Under the cover of darkness, Gur and his unit reached a small village where they were to destroy a storehouse of Hizbullah weapons. At 4:30 a.m., before the sun rose, they had almost completed their mission. But a huge explosion from the hidden storehouse, where heavy ammunition was being stored, alerted two Hizbullah terrorists. They ran out of another building and starting shooting in all directions. They did not see Gur, who was four meters away, and the other soldiers hidden among the bushes, but their shooting was fast and heavy.
"I was hit by three bullets before I had time to react," says Gur. "One in my leg, one in my stomach that went straight out my back, and one in my mouth. I thought I was dead."
As more villagers entered the fight and rockets starting falling, Gur knew he was alive, but thought he would soon be taken prisoner. He crawled 15 meters, and lost a tremendous amount of blood until he reached his comrades.
Gur (l) in his early army days.
"The other soldiers immediately put me on a stretcher and moved me to the extraction zone. A chopper finally came to evacuate me, and barely escaped being hit by the missiles falling all around us. The doctors at Rambam Hospital told me that if I had arrived 10 minutes later I would have been dead," says Gur matter-of-factly.
Since that day, Gur has been in and out of surgery and rehabilitation. He was sent to Germany for a highly specialized nerve implant procedure, and he is slowly on the way to recovery. While he was in the hospital Gur was told about the Jewish Agency's Fund for Victims of Terror. "I would never ask for help, but the people that came told me about the assistance I could receive, especially given my difficult financial situation," he says.
The Fund, which was originally established to help victims of terror during the Intifada, was reopened in 2006 with the support of UJC's Israel Emergency Campaign. Funding comes from Federations across North America and Keren Hayesod-UIA Communities. To date, 401 families and soldiers have received assistance for rent, purchasing household appliances, dental care and tuition assistance.
The reestablishment of this Fund plays a vital role in meeting the needs of families and individuals injured during the Second Lebanon War and other acts of violence against Israel that were not fully met due to various limitations or where other types of funding fall short.
Today, 15 months after his injury, Gur, who lives in Jerusalem, is taking a television production course in Tel Aviv and plans on going to college. He is using the money from the Fund for rent and buying essential electrical appliances.
"I don't regret anything," says Gur emphatically. "If I had to do it over, I would make the same decisions. I am thankful for the generous people who really care about me and about Israel."
Donating to the Fund for Victims of Terror will help Gur Nedzvetsky and other individuals who, in answering the urgent call to serve their country and keep the people of Israel safe, put themselves in physical danger. The Fund plays a vital role in meeting the humanitarian needs of victims not fully met due to various limitations or where other types of funding fall short. The Fund provides higher education scholarships as well as emergency help exactly where families need it. To donate, click here.