Israeli landmine victim speaks in Bay Area

November 11, 2011 5:42:23 PM PST
An Israeli boy is in the Bay Area for Veteran's Day commemorations to talk about why his own wound of war is changing history. He lost part of one leg to a landmine last year while playing in a field with his brothers and sisters.

He is resilient and remarkable. Just a few months after that terrible day in the minefield, he helped convinced the Israeli government to pass a bill in support of removing the land mines throughout the country.

"I do with this everything," he said, adding that yes "of course" he can jump.

12-year-old Daniel Yuval isn't shy about showing his prosthetic leg.

"It's not so good like my old leg, my real leg, but, it's good," he said.

He was fitted for the prosthetic after his leg was blown off by a landmine on February 6, 2010. He had been playing with his brother and three sisters in the snow on a family outing in the Golan Heights. They didn't know they were in an unmarked mine field. Daniel was 11 at the time. His sister, Amit, was 13. She was badly wounded by shrapnel.

"What happened to me is a terrible experience and it doesn't need to happen to other children, men or ladies," Daniel said.

"I remember every detail from this day," his sister continued.

"I saw I lost my leg and then I heard my sister saying that she's blind," Daniel recalled.

"I opened my eyes and like, nothing," Amit went on.

"I remember she was yelling, 'Daniel, Daniel, you are OK? You are OK?" Daniel said.

The Yuval family learned there may be up to 1 million landmines in Israel, including the Holy Lands. Daniel met landmine survivor Jerry White, and Heidi Kuhn with San Rafael's Roots of Peace Organization, shortly after the mine explosion and they formed a pact to raise awareness. Heidi and Jerry, along with the U.S. State Department took a busload of Israeli legislators to see the mine fields. Roots of Peace raises money to remove landmines in war-torn countries.

"I truly do not believe any mother should ever have to take off the limb of their child before tucking them into bed," Kuhn told ABC7.

Daniel and big sister Amit even talked with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. eventually, a bill was approved to begin the clearing of those mines.

"Our goal now for this trip is with Roots of Peace, get the money to do this work in Israel," Daniel's mother Tallie said.

"In 2025, we see a mine-free world," Daniel says.

On Veterans Day, Daniel spoke at the veteran's home in Yountville along with Heidi Kuhn. Roots of Peace will lead the first humanitarian-led demining of the Holy Lands next year and on Veterans Day, it was announced that the State Department has agreed to match every dollar raised by Roots of Peace to remove landmines in war-torn countries.


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