Dvir Mussai was a 13-year old boy on a class trip, picking cherries to help a Jewish farmer named Nati Ozery. The date was Jun 11, 2002.
“The truth is I wasn’t supposed to go. I hadn’t brought permission slips, and I purposely wore my Shabbat clothing– certainly not the right outfit for picking cherries. I was a rebellious teen like so many others. Nonetheless, the school took me along.”
He and two friends were fooling around, so the teacher ordered them back to the buses that were bringing a different class back to school.
As he approached the metal gate where the buses were parked, he stepped on a landmine, presumably set to kill the farmer.
“I remember going up in the air, my legs flying up. I remember the smell of gunpowder, the noise and then the ringing in my ears. Stones flew on top of me after I fell to the ground,” says Dvir.
The army medic who accompanied the school kids was the first to respond He couldn’t do much because of the massive bleeding. He put tourniquets on both of Dvir’s legs. Next, an ambulance arrived and rushed him to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.
His parents, Hannah and Mutti Mussai, arrived an hour later.
By then Dvir has moved from the trauma unit, run by Prof. Avi Rivkind, to the operating room. For six hours, a team of Hadassah surgeons from different disciplines worked together to save Dvir’s life. Because Dvir was injured below the waist, his intestinal tract and everything around it was damaged. His chief surgeon was Prof. Alon Pikarsky.
“First they had to save my life and stop the bleeding.” Dvir said. Because he was wounded in the field, every wound was filthy and prone to infection. It took two days to wash out the dirt.
“I was eventually moved out of the ICU because there was another terror attack, a bus coming from Gilo with a suicide bomber.”
In his office on the day of the bombing, Prof. Rivkind was reviewing Dvir’s case. He put his head on his desk. “This youngster will be our patient for the rest of his life,” he said.
And so it has been. Today, Dvir — a handsome 26 year old –married to Orly and father of Yair, aged 2, has undergone more than 30 surgeries. “Who’s counting?” jokes Dvir. He also manages to volunteer at Hadassah’s Herzstein Heritage Center, be an ambassador to every other terror survivor being treated at Hadassah, and to be a spokesperson for HWZOA and Hadassah International. He also works in a family retail business office owned by “the big brother who slept with me every night while I was so critically injured.”
Tragically, the cherry farmer Nati Ozeri, was shot dead by terrorists who had failed with the landmine that injured Dvir. Two of the farmer’s children had shrapnel injuries and were treated in Hadassah’s Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center.. “They were the first of the hundreds of terror victims whom Dvir has visited and encouraged.
“I was there, and that made it easier to visit them,” said Dvir.
“I am grateful to the staff first, for saving my life, and for their continues devotion throughout the years. Every matter, major and minor, is important to them, and their doors are always open to me,” he says. Prof. Pikarsky recited one of the blessings under Dvir and Orly’s Chuppah.
Today, Dvir walks with a cane, has daily treatments, and is hoping that the new surgery being developed at Hadassah will help resolve some of his lingering problems.
He sends his own love and blessings to the women and men of Hadassah who have helped him even before they knew him.