Israeli victims of terror watched Arsenal earn a Carling Cup final place during a three-day London visit organised by One Family UK.
Waving team scarves and cheering loudly when Arsenal scored their three goals, the group managed to make it on camera when the BBC broadcast crowd scenes. Their itinerary also took in Buckingham Palace and a performance of The Lion King.
One of the group had been involved in the controversial clash between the Israeli navy and pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza-bound flotilla last May.
He had been shocked by the global condemnation of the Israeli action. “We know what happened, we know the truth. The world wants Israel to apologise – it’s ridiculous, we were defending ourselves.”
The group also included soldiers wounded during the Gaza war two years ago, a woman left paralysed after being shot and another hit during a suicide bombing in a coffee shop.
Eden Dahan – whose father and sister were seriously injured when Kassam rockets from Gaza struck their home in Sderot four years ago – said the visit had been amazing.
“I’m grateful that there are people in the world who want to hear my story and want to help. It’s important to tell people what’s happening.”
Businessman David Friedman, who helped organise the trip, said: “It’s amazing for them to get away from their normal lives. Each one has their own problem but they bond together as a group and help each other out.”
Those who participated on the trip were:
Snir Azlan, date of birth 19th of June 1989.
Snir was a soldier in Battalion 13 of Golani. He was wounded during the fighting in Gaza in January 2009. He suffered a very serious injury to his hand. In an explosion, the hand was ripped from its place, and it was only reattached in the hospital. He suffers from very powerful pains near his elbow, and has great difficulty functioning with his hand. He was also injured in the back, and has thick scars in the lower back and in the area of his injury to his arm.
Shahaf Segal, date of birth 22nd of August 1988.
Shahaf is a Golani soldier who was injured on January 4, 209 during Operation Cast Lead. He was a combat medic who was wounded critically in the hand and several fingers were crushed.
Shlomo Hasson, date of birth 24th of March 1983.
Shlomo served in the Israel Navy, and was injured 7 years ago when a boat they stopped exploded. Shlomo suffered shrapnel injuries in various parts of his body, the most serious of which were in the side of his head. Shrapnel lodged behind his eye, destroying his tear ducts and impairing his vision.
Nadav Sicsic, date of birth 20th of January 1984.
Nadav was wounded by an RPG missile during an anti-terror operation in Gaza in October 2007. The missile hit him in the leg and wounded him critically. After numerous struggles, doctors were forced to amputate his leg above the knee.
Sharel Shalom Vaknin, date of birth 19th of November 1987.
Shar-El was a member of a highly classified field intelligence unit in the IDF and suffered severe emotional disability as a result of injuries during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in January 2009. Shar-El has panic attacks and suffers from fear and emotional disconnection. He can experience these attacks as if he is outside his own body. He requires the constant presence of someone who can handle these attacks. Both Merav and Hamutal are able to handle his situation.
Avihai Mumbram, date of birth 3rd of August 1989.
Avihai was injured in action during Operation Cast Lead in January 2009 in the Gaza Strip. Terrorists attacked Avichai’s position during the night. He suffered gunshot wounds to the arms, and one arm is paralyzed with no feeling.
Tal Shabat, date of birth 26th of November 1984
Tal suffered head injuries in an attack in the Gaza Strip in November 2006. He requires a caregiver to be with him around the clock. He doesn’t get out of the house much because he is embarrassed by his injuries. Tal is coming with his mother who is his carer.
Adi Huja, date of birth 9th of July 1987
Adi was seriously injured in the triple bombing on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem in December 2001. She suffered serious injuries to her leg, and still suffers from pains and may suffer somewhat from the cold.
Hila Lustig, date of birth
Hila was seriously injured in a shooting attack at the entrance to the Southern Command IDF base in Be’er Sheva on 10th February 2002. Hila took 7 bullets resulting in complex systemic injuries. The main blood vessel in Hila’s leg was damaged and it was feared her life was in danger. Hila has undergone many operations
Eden Dahan, date of birth 7th of November 1990.
Eden is the oldest of four children in her family. Her father was injured in four separate rocket attacks in Sderot, and her younger sister was injured in one of them. Her father suffers from very serious post-trauma, and the entire family is experiencing psychological trauma.
Adir Hagbi, date of birth 17th of August 1986.
Adir suffered emotional injury and post-trauma in a Kassam rocket attack in Sderot in February 2009. He suffers from a very light case of Cystic Fibrosis. Despite his illness, he completed his matriculations and completed certificate studies as a medical secretary, in addition to a lifesaving course and a swimming teachers’ course at the Wingate Institute. He is partially disabled on his left side.
Doron Ra’ani, date of birth 12th of July 1988
Doron and his mother were both injured in the suicide bombing attack at the Hasharon Mall in Netanya on December 5, 2005. Doron suffered injuries to his stomach lungs, liver and leg and spent more than 6 months in the hospital.
More Cusack, date of birth 27th of October 1986.
Mor was injured in a military operation in the northern Gaza Strip in 2006. He understands English well, but speaks it only a little. He has an 11-year-old brother. His big hobby is snooker. He takes medication for his injuries, and has no other medical problems or allergies. He prefers not to speak publicly about his experiences.
Yotam Cohen, date of birth 2nd of March 1989
Yotam is a Navy Seal who was wounded in the confrontation with the flotilla May 31. He speaks and understands English well. His hobbies include basketball, snowboarding, and anything related to the sea. He is not comfortable talking about his experiences with others, and is prevented from doing so by military classification.
Ran Shauluv, date of birth 4th of February 1989
Ran was a paratrooper in the 101st Paratroop Unit (the unit that Ariel Sharon founded in the 1950s). He was wounded in action during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in January 2009. Ran does not speak English and understands only a little. His hobbies include music, movies, cars and computers. He is taking medication for post-trauma and needs to take the medication regularly. He is willing to talk about his experiences.
Matan Shamir, date of birth 5th of October 1987
Matan was injured in a rocket attack on the Nahal Oz military outpost near the Gaza Strip on November 28, 2008. He suffered shrapnel injuries to the eye, and still goes for periodic therapy and checkups. He doesn’t speak or understand English. His hobbies include football, basketball and swimming. He prefers not to talk about his experiences.
Tzipora Bloomberg, date of birth, 11th of October 1986
Tzipora’s mother was murdered in a drive-by shooting on the road near their home in August 2001. Tzipora and her father both suffered critical spinal injuries in the attack, and both have been partially paralyzed and confined to wheelchairs ever since.
Hamutal Shalev, date of birth 6th of March 1979
Hamutal’s brother Nissan was killed in action on the last day of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.
Merav Uziel, date of birth 5th of September 1982
Merav’s brother Gavriel was killed in a confrontation with terrorists in Jenin on September 4, 2003. Merav is a member of OneFamily’s staff, coordinating activities for the organization’s Young Adults Division.