-Maytal Yasur Beit Or, Gadi Golan, Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff
Daniel Fahima, 28, survived a terrorist bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria that killed two of his childhood friends • “To bring a clean, new life into the world is actually an act of victory” • Haganah veteran Haim Bar-Ilan mentors young wounded IDF veterans.
A new life delivers a knockout blow to terrorism: Daniel Fahima, 28, who was very seriously wounded in the Burgas bus bombing in 2012, and his wife, Dana, 24, had their first son on Friday.
The Burgas bus bombing was a terrorist attack carried out by a suicide bomber on a passenger bus transporting Israeli tourists at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria on July 18, 2012. The bus was carrying 42 Israelis from the airport to their hotels after arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv. The explosion killed the Bulgarian bus driver and five Israelis and left 32 Israelis injured to varying degrees.
“This is the moment when I can say, unequivocally, that we beat terrorism,” the excited Fahima said this week.
“This was what I aspired to after what happened. After everything I went though, to bring a clean, new life into the world — an heir — is actually an act of victory,” he said.
Two of the people killed in the bombing, Maor Harush and Elior Preiss, were childhood friends of Fahima’s. The three had planned to enjoy themselves in the resort city. Fahima sustained burns to 60% of his body and spent several days in an induced coma, hooked up to a respirator in the Sheba Medical Center burn unit.
Last February, Fahima married Dana Levy, whom he met when she visited him in the hospital as a volunteer.
“The difficult memory is always in our hearts, but we try to turn over a new leaf. Every part of life is a memorial, but I’m giving my child a place of his own and hope that he stays healthy all his life,” Fahima said.
Elsewhere in Israel, 87-year-old Haim Bar-Ilan — believed to be one of Israel’s oldest surviving disabled veterans — is busy mentoring younger veterans left permanently disabled.
“In my long life — may it continue — I’ve been though more than a few painful difficulties because of the serious wounds I suffered in February 1948, during a retaliation against Arab rioters in Haifa, after we were ordered to blow up a bus carrying Arabs,” Bar-Ilan said.
At the time, Bar-Ilan was serving in the Carmeli Brigade of the Haganah, prior to the establishment of the Israel Defense Forces.
“My serious disability didn’t keep me from joining the IDF, volunteering and doing everything I was asked to do with pride and a strong belief that everything was for my country,” Bar-Ilan said. “Today, the disabled IDF veterans have a home, they have a mom and a dad, and I’m proud of that.”
David Israeli, a 20-year-old Beersheba resident, was wounded last July during a Givati Brigade operation in Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. Like Bar-Ilan, he was wounded in his right leg. Both are very active in the Beersheba branch of Beit Halochem.
“I’m learning a lot from him, mostly about how to deal with the disability,” Israeli said.
On Sunday, Israel marked the second annual day of appreciation for wounded IDF soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks. The Rehabilitation Department in the Defense Ministry staged events throughout the country, the main one being held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
As of today there are 56,708 people who are officially recognized as wounded IDF veterans in the care of the Defense Ministry. According to the ministry, every wounded soldier is assigned a treatment process manager and other professionals who can meet their needs and the needs of their families.