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June 5, 2016 6:40 am

In Visit to New York, IDF Soldier Who Survived Terror Attack Moved by Support of American Jews for Israel

avatar by Lea Speyer

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IDF soldier and terror survivor Lee Strachman during her visit to New York, May 2016. Photo: Belev Echad.

IDF soldier and terror survivor Lee Strachman during her visit to New York, May 2016. Photo: Belev Echad.

An IDF soldier recovering from a Palestinian terror attack told The Algemeiner about the positive experiences she and fellow victims had while on a sponsored trip to the United States.

“The love my friends and I have received from the American Jewish community while visiting New York is beyond words,” said Lee Strachman, 20, who was among a group of Israeli terror victims recently brought to the US by the Belev Echad organization, whose self-described mission is to “repay… the enormous debt of gratitude we owe the brave warriors [of Israel], through support and a whole lot of love.”

Strachman, one of four Israeli Border Police wounded in a car-ramming attack near east Jerusalem on March 6, 2015, recounted the trauma. “We went out on patrol to secure the area because of the Purim holiday. A terrorist circled around us for two hours before ramming his car into me and my friends, where we were standing on the sidewalk,” Lee recalled. “I flew very far and broke my knees, ankles, the bottom of my spine, my jaw and my head was split open. I had many other injuries over my entire body.”

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Strachman, who walks with the aid of crutches, spent three months recovering in the hospital and told The Algemeiner that “until today, I am doing daily rehabilitation, including a lot of physical therapy.” In six weeks, she said, she will undergo her third major surgery. She will be operated on by surgeons from New York, who will travel to Israel specially for that purpose. 

“People gave us gifts certificates to go shopping. We’ve toured around and even went on helicopter and motorcycle rides,” Strachman said. “However, what is simply beyond words is how welcome we felt by the Jews in America, who have made us feel like their family.”

Strachman said that knowing Jews in the US support her and her fellow soldiers “helps us emotionally, because the mental recovery is the hardest part. It is good for us and for American Jews to connect with one another.”

After this trip, Strachman said she will not take her connection with American Jewry for granted. “My aunt lives in Arizona and she said that the Jewish community there prayed for me and my fellow soldiers. But I never imagined in New York and the rest of America that people felt so connected caring,” she said. “In Israel, everyone is used to hearing about terror attacks, and when you become a victim, you’re told, ‘Welcome to the club.’ However, here, in America, we’re made to feel special.”

Several months after Strachman’s attack, Israel saw a surge in Palestinian terrorism. According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since September 2015, 452 people, including four Palestinians, were injured and 34 killed in 278 attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists across Israel.

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