Tuesday, February 11 Latest News: Ori has been released from the hospital. He will return to see Hadassah's specialists as needed.
Monday, February 10
San Diego Mom Is Proud of Soldier Son, Recovering Well Thanks to Hadassah
Ori Hamo, who grew up in San Diego, California, insisted on going to Israel to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). “Both of you proudly served the country,” he told his parents, Hagit Cohen Hamo and Kobi Hamo, who were born in Israel. “You sent me to a Zionist school and a summer program with Israeli scouts in Israel. Now it’s my turn to serve.”
Though 7,600 miles away from home, Ori volunteered for combat duty. “It’s very hard as a mom to have your son so far away,” Hagit says, “but we’re so proud of him.”
Hagit teaches in San Diego's Jewish Academy. In January, the academy was celebrating "Israel Week." Hagit's fifth graders dressed up as characters from Israel's past and present. Audrey Levine, leadership vice president of Hadassah Southern California and a colleague of Hagit's, volunteered to do a slide show for the children about Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold.
“I was particularly moved by the images of the Chagall Windows at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem,” relates Hagit. “Little did I know that I would be seeing them in person very soon.”
On February 7, Ori was marching with his group of soldiers to the Old City for the traditional swearing in ceremony at the Western Wall. It was 2:15 a.m., and the Jerusalem streets were quiet. Suddenly, a terrorist from a Jerusalem neighborhood drove a passenger sedan into the soldiers. Ori, whose jacket bears the tire marks, suffered multiple injuries, and is now receiving treatment from orthopedists, ophthalmologists, and plastic surgeons at Hadassah. Among his many visitors this week, aside from his parents, was Israeli musician Idan Amedi, who serenaded him. Ori, a musician and singer himself, reached for the guitar and, despite his many injuries, played one of Idan's songs.
“We see his survival as a miracle,” says Kobi.
Mom Hagit adds, “I immediately wrote to Audrey and the women of Hadassah to tell them I was now at their wonderful hospital, and to say thank you.”
Thursday, February 6
Ori Hamo’s father, Kobi, planned a big surprise for him. He flew from San Diego, California, to Israel on February 5 to attend his lone-soldier son’s swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Ori had joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in December.
Ori and a group of soldiers were heading to the event in Jerusalem’s Old City at two in the morning when a driver steered his car toward them.
Ori was the first to understand what was about to happen, but not soon enough to warn all the other soldiers to dive out of the way of the oncoming vehicle.
Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus treated seven of the soldiers. The other soldiers were less seriously injured than Ori, with most sent home. Doctors described Ori’s injuries as “moderate.”
Kobi was in shock when he saw his son’s badly bruised and swollen face. Ori’s eyes were hardly open. However, it was the internal damage that required greater medical attention. “He’s got fractures in his pelvis, ribs, and face, as well as broken teeth,” relates Kobi.
Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Unit Director Dr. Miklosh Bala reports that Ori will have to undergo several operations. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen these types of injuries in previous hit-and-run attacks.”
Kobi recalls, “I got the call at 3:00 a.m. I arrived at the hospital at five a.m. The team has been incredible. I’m amazed by the way everyone from the hospital and the army has jumped in to help.”
Ori was a student at California’s San Diego Jewish Academy before moving to Israel to volunteer in the IDF. His parents, though Israel born, met and married in the U.S. Kobi and his wife, Hagit, have two children at home, Yuval, 15, and Agam, who will celebrate her bat mitzvah this summer.
Despite the traumatic incident, Ori immediately told his father he plans to complete his military service.