Five Towns Fundraiser

Sunday 5K in 5 Towns will aid IDF wounded


Five Israeli Defense Force soldiers who fought in the war launched by Hamas on Oct. 7 have stories to tell.

Four of them — all except Lt. Eden Ram, 21, from Jerusalem — will be attending the 15th annual Five Towns 5K run/walk in North Woodmere Park on Sunday to raise funds for Friends of Israeli Disabled Veterans (FIDV). Registration is open until the event gets underway at 10 am.

Ram, serving in the Home Front Command, was stationed at the Orim base observing the Sabbath when the day’s tranquility was shattered by the terrrorists’ surprise attack. The infiltrators unleashed chaos; a hail of gunfire killing four out of six soldiers on the spot.

Bullets tore through Ram’s left leg, left hand and pelvis. She lay wounded and alone for over four hours. Her life was hanging by a thread. The terrorists returned, but she defied all odds and survived long enough to be rescued by Unit 669 soldiers, who moved her, in critical condition, to Shaare Zedek Hospital.

After nine days fighting for her life with the help of medical teams working around the clock, Ram was taken to Beit Halochem (House of Warriors) in Tel Aviv for rehabilitation. Beit Halochem is the primary recipient of FIDV funds.

Ram continues her journey of rehabilitation and shares her story to serve as a beacon of courage and inspiration.

First Sgt. Shahar Firshtman, 23, from Tel Aviv joined the IDF in 2019 as a volunteer in the Special Forces unit named Okets, which is the K9 military unit.

After 14 months of hard physical and mental training, Firshtman was injured parachuting and was released from the unit.

He was transferred to the Givati brigade and after spending four months deployed at the Lebanon border, he was promoted to commander. After eight months, he was released from the army as a sergeant.

When the war broke out, Firshtman grabbed his personal handgun and drove south to reunite with his unit. After three weeks of training, they were sent into Gaza- Beit Hanoon.

Firshtman’s last mission was on Dec. 4, it comprised of capturing and taking control over Beit Hanoon’s town hall area. His squad ransacked training facilities, laser gun ranges and a kindergarten.

While covering the west side of the compound, two Hamas terrorists appeared from a tunnel and shot two rocket propelled grenades at them, 400 meters away. Five of his soldiers suffered injuries.

“I felt my arm burning and saw all of my squad full of blood smoke, I heard them scream and thought I am in the best condition so I will get help,” Firshtman said. “I started to roll over my left arm thinking that’s how I will kill the fire.”

After what felt like an eternity of laying on the ground calling for help, the commanded ran in to rescue them with his squad.

“They got to me first and I saw how his face changed but like a lion he came to me wanting to start taking care of me,” he said. “I told him to leave me alone and go take care of the others.

When the medics reached Firshtman, his leg was bleeding from multiple bullet wounds. He was taken to the hospital where he received two blood transfusions and was told that it was dangerous to remove the fragments in his leg.

Sgt. Shalom Sheetrit, from Afula, was a soldier in Golani’s 13th Battalion. He survived a deadly attack by Hamas at his outpost, 250 meters from the Gaza border. Though he lost his right leg, Sheerit said never lost his faith in the IDF, Israel and it’s people.

Sheetrit and eight fellow soldiers were awoken by the “Code Red” alert on Oct. 7, as they ran to the bunker without vests or cartridges. He went to retrieve supplies as missiles exploded nearby shaking the ground beneath him. After the rockets stopped, they were ambushed.

“I faced a terrorist just two meters away and neutralized him, but another shot me, injuring my right leg,” Sheetrit said. “My comrades applied a tourniquet, and I awaited evacuation.”

Sheetrit was taken to Soroka Medical Center, where his leg was amputated. He was led to Tel HaShomer Hospital for rehabilitation and long-term care and support.

After leaving the hospital, he also went to Beit Halochem for specialized rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. The therapy helped him regain strength, mobility and a renewed sense of purpose.

Noam Guez’s story is one of remarkable resilience and technological innovation.  After sustaining a devastating injury from a grenade while serving in the IDF, he spent five days in a coma with multiple brain injuries. Guez turned his life-altering event into a springboard for groundbreaking achievements.

Despite his severe injuries and living with a prosthetic left arm, he radiates optimism in everything he does. After being released from the hospital, Guez also spent time at Beit Halochem for rehabilitation, to regain strength and reclaim his life.

After regaining consciousness, less than a month later he returned to judo tatami, judo that uses mats as flooring in traditional Japanese-style rooms. He then re-enlisted into the army, pursued a degree in computer engineering and developed an innovative 3D printed prosthetic limb. This all occurred within the first year of his recovery.

Guez gives presentations about living life with one hand and spreads messages of optimism and interest.

Naor Partush, 35, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from his time as a police officer and fighting in the war in Israel. He is currently receiving therapy at Beit Halochem.

After receiving notifications about an unusual incident and suspected kidnapping of civilians in the Gaza envelope, Partush went to provide operational assistance.

He immediately noticed the magnitude of the event and casualties. Partush teamed up with a policeman and began rescuing civilians. He was aiming to reach a girl named Nitzan who was hiding under bodies at the entrance to the Bari settlement and was surrounded by terrorists.

Dozens of people were trapped near Bari and Reim, along with a parking lot filled with attendees from the Nova Festival. Despite being fired at by terrorists, they managed to rescue roughly 60 people and arrest several terrorists for questioning.

Unfortunately, during the fight Partush lost his commander and subordinate. Two members of the station’s staff were injured and friends were injured or killed.

All proceeds from Sunday’s run/walk will benefit rehab facilities for wounded IDF soldiers.