On the eve of April 3, 2001, when Hamas began firing rockets into the Gush Katif area, Ariel Yered, 15-months-old at the time, was critically injured in an attack in Atzmona. Doctors did not think he would survive as he arrived in the trauma unit of Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Center in cardiac arrest. B’chasdei Hashem, on Monday Ariel celebrated his bar mitzvah at the Kosel after graduating rehabilitation.
One of the pieces of rocket shrapnel hit baby Ariel in his abdomen while another tore into his brain and yet others penetrated his back and spine. When he arrived at Soroka there was not much hope, but the hospital’s deputy director, Dr. Nitza Heiman-Neuman who treated Ariel in 2001 recalls they did not give up and after stabilizing the baby’s condition he was rushed into surgery. His condition significantly improved following the first surgery and after three weeks, he opened his eyes.
Ariel was sent to the Alyn Rehabilitation Hospital in Jerusalem to begin the long road of rehabilitation. His mother explains that the process was extremely slow and it took a week or two until he smiled, and a few more weeks until he lifted his head. Ariel spent 18 months in Alyn and he was then discharged to his home and returned on an outpatient basis. Yossi, his father, explains he has healed almost 100%, explaining they are aware than a certain injury will remain for life, explaining physical therapy has become part of his regular routine, even today. Due to the left-sided brain injury his right hand is impaired with no hope for improvement. “His right leg is weaker, and that is why he has a slight limp” Yossi adds.
Yossi told Maariv that on their way to the Kosel they stopped at Alyn to thank the staff, adding for Ariel and the family, their arrival at the Kosel for the bar mitzvah represented a rebirth.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)