Home Christian News Injured Israeli Reservists Join Jerusalem Marathon, Share What They Wish the World...

Injured Israeli Reservists Join Jerusalem Marathon, Share What They Wish the World Knew About the War

jerusalem marathon
L: Israeli hostages captured in the war. R: Participants in the Jerusalem Marathon. Images courtesy of Steve Foster

Two Israeli reservists who were wounded in action during the war in Gaza participated in the Jerusalem Marathon that took place Friday, March 8, amid the ongoing war. The marathon was a tribute to Israel Defense Forces (IDF), security forces, and rescue teams. Speaking to journalists ahead of the marathon, the reservists answered questions on topics including their view of Hamas and what they wish the world knew about the war.

“We always knew that [Hamas] is a terror organization,” said Oll Sheizaf, a 34-year-old runner and coach who has not yet recovered enough from his injuries to return to running. “I think it made it a lot more clear again to me [that Hamas] is first and foremost a terror organization and…their aim is to destroy us.”

Jerusalem Marathon Draws 40,000 

Forty thousand people from over 70 countries, according to some reports, took part in the 13th International Jerusalem Winner Marathon Friday morning. This year’s annual event is a “tribute to the IDF, security forces and rescue teams,” and was free to those groups. Reservists who have served or serve currently could also register for free. 

Participants passed through numerous historic landmarks, including the Mount of Olives, the Old City, the Tower of David, and the Sultan’s Pool. Among the runners was Steve Foster, chief operating officer for Outreach, Inc., which owns ChurchLeaders. Foster was with the journalists who heard from the Israeli reservists prior to the marathon, a meeting arranged courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

Oll Sheizaf and Itzik Weksler, both runners and both of whom were injured in combat, addressed a room that included journalists from South Korea, France, England, India and Spain. The two men shared stories of how they were injured in the war and then took questions about their experiences. 

Sheizaf, who works in educational administration and coaches runners, was called up to serve after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. One day, while he and his unit were in the Gaza Strip on a mission to capture several houses, one of the Israeli soldiers noticed that there was a tunnel under one of the homes. “The first thing that you think about is someone is going to come out and there’s going to be fighting,” said Sheizaf. “So you take a couple of steps back.”

What happened was there was a huge explosion, resulting in the deaths of five people and injuries to four, including Sheizaf. He was wounded in both legs and his right arm and said that one of his immediate concerns was whether or not he would be able to continue running. He was evacuated to a hospital, where he spent over two months recovering. “​​My situation could have been a lot worse,” Sheizaf said.

He got out of rehab two weeks ago, and while he is not yet able to run, he said, “I’m able to walk, and they are quite positive and optimistic that it is going to be okay and that I will be able to run one day.” 

Sheizaf said that he would be participating in the Jerusalem Marathon with friends from his unit and that the prospect of seeing them again was “very exciting.”