Emotional evening at JW3 as film of wounded IDF soldiers trekking through India premieres


There was not a dry eye in the house after First Lieutenant Ohad Roisblatt shared his moving life story at JW3 on Monday .

Now only 24, Lt Roisblatt was left for dead by a terrorist attack on his unit during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Then serving as platoon commander in the Golani brigade in the Gaza town of Sajaya, Roisblatt was badly injured while seven of his comrades were killed.

After six hours lying in a pool of his own blood, Lt Roisblatt was rescued and transferred to hospital. So began his long rehabilitation with Beit Halochem, an Israeli organisation dedicated to the lifelong care of wounded soldiers and their families.

Last year Lt Roisblatt, from Haifa, joined 19 other wounded IDF soldiers on a gruelling trek in India. The trip was filmed and aired on Israeli television last summer, before having its international premiere at London's Jewish cultural centre this week.

Prior to the screening, Roisblatt - who has since re-enlisted - recalled his experience.

"I was hit by three bullets in my legs and shrapnel in my elbow and back," he said.

"There was fire everywhere so I started calling out orders to my soldiers but there were no responses. This was the first time in my life that I really understood the meaning of being alone."

Luckily for Lt Roisblatt, the long road to recovery was hastened by his Indian adventure.

"There are injuries that everyone can see but there are also some scars that can't be seen. Post-trauma is something that we carry in our hearts for our entire lives," he said.

The documentary followed the men as they faced their fears and battled their injuries to conquer the Himalayas.

"After this journey I felt that I could find a path in my life and I decided to return to the army," said Roisblatt.

The screening was followed by a Q&A session with Lt Roisblatt and Ora Seidner, a representative of Beit Halochem from Israel.

The event was compered by Spencer Gelding, CEO of Beit Halochem UK. Over the weekend, the charity also hosted a Friday night dinner at Norrice Lea Synagogue, attended by Lt Roisblatt, other military dignitaries and nearly 300 members of the community.

The VIP guests were Colonel Richard Kemp who has fought terrorism with the British Army in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans and Northern Ireland, as well as Shlomo Ivgy, a wounded IDF veteran who became a professional disabled golfer, with support from Beit Halochem.

Speaking after the screening, Mr Gelding said: "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch this film.

"As the CEO of Beit Halochem UK, I have a responsibility to inform the masses, how funds collected here in the UK can have such a profound effect on the 51,000 Veterans that Beit Halochem care for every day."

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