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Hadassah's Israeli Hero

A young Israeli who credit Hadassah with saving his life joined the organization on July 27 in Washington, DC to honor First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for her humanitarian work.

Ziv Hazanovsky of Jerusalem, known for his heroic efforts that saved a bus-load of children from a suicide bomber, presented the First Lady with a tablet carved with a dove, explaining his hopes that the peace process continue.

In October of 1998, the 26-year-old reserve soldier was escorting a busload of 44 children, ages 6-14, to school. Hazanovsky swerved his jeep and intercepted a suicide bomber trying to drive 170 pounds of explosives into the bus. Hazanovsky, who was not expected to survive his numerous injuries from the blast, made an inspiring recovery at Hadassah Hospital. His remarks at Hadassah's 85th National Convention included:

"At first, no one thought I would live. As time went on, no one thought I would walk. With the help of Hadassah you see that I'm here today. I'm alive. I can stand. I can walk. Maybe someday I will run. Often, I think of those kids in the bus. The terrorists who tried to blow them up wanted to destroy the peace process. The peace process must continue.

"Mrs. Hillary Clinton--In the memory of Yitzhak Rabin, and on behalf of all of us who have been touched by Hadassah as a bridge for peace, it is my honor to present you with this dove, a traditional symbol of peace. Your efforts for peace in the Middle East are appreciated by all of us whose lives are at stake."

Hadassah honored First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at their 85th National Convention with the Henrietta Szold Award, paying tribute to her humanitarian service on behalf of women, children and social welfare. The First Lady's appearance was the high point of the four-day convention, which was attended by 2,500 delegates from the US organization. Hadassah--the largest Jewish and largest Zionist organization in the US--supports Israel's Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah College of Technology, Hadassah Career Counseling Institute, and Youth Aliyah villages. Hadassah also partners with The Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet Le'Israel) to build public parks and plant trees in Israel.

Ziv's additional remarks:

Shalom, I'm very happy to be here with you today. Like every kid growing up in Jerusalem, I knew there was a big and important hospital called Hadassah. I knew that badly wounded soldiers were brought there for treatment. Never did i expect to be a patient there myself. When you are an Israeli, serving in the army is part of your life. You watch your older friends go first, and you spend a lot of time dreaming about it and talking with your friends about what it will be like. Then it becomes real. You serve your three or four years. You don't say it but you are glad to be out. I know I was.

Last October, I just returned from a long trip abroad. I was feeling free and easy like an american. I was working in a restaurant hanging out, trying to decide what I would do with the rest of my life when i got the notice to show up for reserve duty. Ok., I figured. Its only a month. What could be so bad. You know the rest.

I was lucky that i knew Marlene Post, the national president of Hadassah. She made sure I was transferred to Hadassah Hospital. The bones in my heel had been completely crushed. At Hadassah, I had a very complicated surgery on my feet. Afterwards, I had my physical therapy at Hadassah. Many months of hard work with the help of Hadassah's professional staff. When I look back at what happened at Gush Khatif (in Gaza), I know that i was just doing my job. I want to thank you for doing your job and providing the hospital that gave me back the ability to walk. Thank you. Todah rabah. Shalom.

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