Oren Blitzblau was 29 when in January 2005, during the arrest of terror suspects in a joint combat mission, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in an outpost in the Gaza Strip.
He suffered severe damage to his internal organs, burns all over his body, impaired hearing and loss of vision.
A year after the incident and following extensive surgery, Blitzblau, who is legally blind, began riding tandem bikes and from there began his involvement in triathlons.
He is a regular at Beit Halochem Tel Aviv, where he continues to train for his next event. His expenses for training, overseas competitions, coaches, and necessary equipment have all been funded by the Zahal Disabled Veteran’s Organisation (ZDVO).
“This week, ZDVO Beit Halochem Australia is honouring the 50,000 brave Israeli injured soldiers and victims of terror who put their lives on the line for the State of Israel,” ZDVO Beit Halochem Australia president Michael Balkin said.
“These inspiring men and women are members of the four Beit Halochem rehabilitation sports centres located in Be’er Sheva, Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
“Funds raised in Australia go towards a wide range of therapeutic and rehabilitative items to help improve the quality of life of the wounded.”
In August 2018, Blitzblau broke the world record for the blind in an Iron Man competition. He was the only blind participant among 1700 contestants.
When he crossed the finish line, he not only triumphed over the challenging course, but “also defeated the terrorist who tried to kill him 13 years earlier”.
Like many other members, Blitzblau is indebted to the support of ZDVO and considers Beit Halochem a home away from home.
Ido Greenfeld enlisted in the Nahal Infantry Brigade in 1996 and was stationed at an outpost along the Israeli–Lebanese border as the commander of his unit when an explosive device blew up during a sudden ambush.
He was hit by shrapnel and sustained injuries to his eyes. He joined Beit Halochem Tel Aviv where he was able to get back into shape and enjoy physical activity. In 2017, he opened his own law firm.
“Beit Halochem was where I could train and play sport, but above all it gave me a real home,” he said.
“There is a sense of shared destiny, and true friendships are formed as a result.”
Make a tax deductible donation: zdvo.com or 0416 179 622.