For Soldiers Wounded in the Lebanon War, the Road to Recovery Stretches Far

[Jerusalem Post] Matti Friedman - Israel's war with Hizbullah remains a painful reality for 666 IDF soldiers who were seriously wounded in the fighting. On a recent morning, at the rehabilitation section of Sheba Hospital near Tel Aviv, it was easy to spot the young men in T-shirts with military logos, propelling themselves in wheelchairs or striding purposefully on prosthetic legs. David Shashar, 38, who served in the infantry reserves as a doctor, left his civilian job at Sheba Hospital's maternity ward when war broke out and his unit was activated. Sent into south Lebanon, he was taking cover in an abandoned house on August 9, 2006, when a Hizbullah team fired an antitank missile at the building. The blast killed nine of Shashar's comrades and left him near death, his forearm dangling by shreds of tissue and his body punctured by shrapnel. Doctors reattached his arm, but it will take more surgery and at least two years before Shashar knows if it will function again. On the same day, a Hizbullah missile penetrated platoon leader Asael Lubotzky's armored personnel carrier and mangled his lower body, leaving his right leg nearly severed. Lubotzky, 24, remains in a wheelchair, his reattached leg in a brace, and is slowly learning to walk with crutches. Over the past year, Lubotzky said, dealing with his new handicap had been easier than the memory of losing comrades. For many soldiers, dealing with a serious injury is easier at the beginning than it is a year later, when they begin looking ahead to life in a wheelchair or as amputees.

2007-08-24 01:00:00

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