A photo set created by Israeli activists features 60 of Israel’s celebrities and government leaders photographed alongside wounded veterans, to generate awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and to secure employment opportunities for Israel’s wounded war veterans.
The photos include Israeli leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett, as well as Netflix’s “Fauda” stars Rona-Lee Shimon and Tsahi Halevi, pictured with combat veterans.
The group behind the photos, SOS Israel, describes itself as a social organization whose goal is to establish an association in cooperation with businessmen and businesswomen from Israel and the world. With the association, they aim to create a platform that raises awareness about the issues surrounding veterans who suffer from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. SOS Israel assists these veterans by securing employment with Israeli firms, according to the organization. SOS Israel is not the same organization as a similarly named Israeli political organization, according to organizers.
“We hope to share with the world these heroic stories through this art installation and strive to bring a real change in the current constitution so each veteran can get the mental and physical help they deserve after they bravely served our country,” said Yaarit Shoshan, the founder of SOS Israel, in a news release.
Shoshan also owns an Israeli advertising agency. She worked with the owner of Nofar Energy, Ofer Yanai, on the photo project. The 60 photos were on display at the Gallery in Soho in New York City last month.
“These young combat veterans constitute Israel’s finest young men and women, who made the ultimate sacrifice — to defend their country,” said Yanai. “The gap between the treatment they deserve and what’s available to them nowadays is enormously painful.”
Post-traumatic stress disorder impacts daily activities and is mentally draining, with symptoms like panic attacks, nightmares and more. Only a handful of Israel Defense Forces combat veterans with PTSD get the treatment they need to overcome PTSD, and this treatment is crucial to building a functional life post-service, according to the news release.
Among the public figures, besides Netanyahu and Bennett, are Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s former president; Aviv Kochavi, the chief of staff of the IDF; Gabi Ashkenazi, former IDF chief of staff and former minister of foreign affairs; lead “Fauda” actors Rona-Lee Shimon, Netta Garti, Tsahi Halevi; and Ziv Shilon, an Israeli entrepreneur and social activist who was severely wounded when serving as an officer in the IDF and lost his left hand in the war.
The list continues with Israeli businessman and Knesset member Nir Barkat; known author and the prime minister’s wife Lihi Lapid; philanthropist and entrepreneur Haim Tayeb; Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai; actor Moran Atias (“Crash,” “Tyrant”); award-winning singer Itay Levy; lead TV Anchor Lucy Aharish; former member of the Israeli Knesset Ofer Shelah; and others.