New Yorkers gather to raise funds for wounded IDF soldiers

Tuesday, November 21, 2023
LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Two Israeli soldiers who were severely wounded during the October 7 terrorist massacre by Hamas are in New York for treatment.

On the morning of October 7, Jonathon Pinto went out in his tank to patrol the border wall with Gaza when a missile struck.

"At first everything turned white, then everything turned black. Then my face started to burn from the heat waves," Pinto said.

The next day, Sgt. Daniel Zaidman escorted civilians to a kibbutz to look for missing family members. He was shot in the arm - bits of metal are now lodged in his body.

"I can't straighten my fingers and my hand is shaking," he said.

These are just some of the IDF soldiers wounded by Hamas.

1,500 New Yorkers gathered Monday night at Cipriani to raise funds for Israeli soldiers - for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and a second chance.

"We've really had to step it up to high gear to save our soldiers' lives," said Shevy Vigler, Co-Director of Belev Echad.

The goal was to raise a million dollars - if they reach that mark, there is a matching grant for another million dollars.

For these soldiers, it means access to some of the best medical care in the world.

"I think a broken heart is more pain than a bullet in the arm because I lost my best friend," Zaidman said.

If doctors are able to restore Pinto's vision, perhaps he will see peace someday.

"I'm optimistic and hope for the best," he says.

His mother, Carmit Pinto says the fact that her son is alive is a huge miracle.

"God willing, he will see us again," she says.

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