Three months ago, no one dared to dream of a birthday party for Orel Azuri. At the time, her family was sitting, worried, outside the intensive care unit at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, where Azuri was unconscious after a terrorist ran her over and stabbed her. On Wednesday, the Azuri family planned to celebrate their daughter’s 21st birthday.
“I received my life as a gift, and I’m going to celebrate the first year here like a baby who was just born. This is the first year of my new life,” Azuri says from her bed in the Sheba orthopedic rehabilitation department.
“True, I’m still not experiencing the fun age of 21, but I’ll get there and I’ll enjoy it. Being in the situation I am is really hard,” she says quietly.
A wheelchair next to her hospital bed is a reminder that she needs help with every activity after both her legs were smashed in a car ramming attack three months ago near Gan Shmuel. A terrorist ran his car into a group of people at a bus stop, where Azuri was waiting for a lift to her army base, then tried to stab her to death. Three other people were wounded in the attack.
Currently, Azuri is fighting to be able to stand and walk.
“It’s not easy, mostly because I was very independent,” Azuri says.
“I was sitting at the stop and an older couple arrived. When I saw that no one was getting up to let them sit down, I got up and gave them my seat. I called the base and told them I’d been waiting for a bus for two and a half hours, and it hadn’t come. I was so upset I was crying. I remember that the terrorist hit me really hard with the car. I remember the impact and the shock. I must have been thrown 50 meters [about 160 feet] away. I just remember his face, coming close with a knife. I remember that he was in a fury, intending to kill me,” she recalls.
Azuri was serving as a combat soldier on an anti-aircraft missile battery. A picture of her on the door of her hospital room bears a caption that describes her more than anything: “Fighter.”
“I really liked the army. If I hadn’t been wounded, I would sign on for extended service. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no need to travel to America or to Asia. My army service was the most perfect thing I ever did in my life.”
Azuri’s mother, Limor, hasn’t left her daughter since she was hospitalized. Limor looks at her and says, “We were here in the days when it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Today, we see that miracles happen.”
At the party hospital volunteers are organizing for her, Azuri plans to surprise the guests and go back to her love, singing.
“I would play and write songs,” Azuri says.
“I’m planning to go back to singing and hope that it will be a terrific surprise for everyone.”