A British soldier paralysed in Afghanistan is back on his feet thanks to an Israeli bionic suit, writes Jack Mendel.
James Johnson was on his first operational tour of the country in August 2012 when he was crushed by a wall.
His injuries left him as a complete paraplegic and consigned him to a wheelchair. However, he is now miraculously walking again with the help of a UJIA funded and Israeli invented state-of-the-art ReWalk Bionic suit, which costs in excess of £40,000. The device enables people with lower spinal cord injuries to stand and walk.
Speaking at UJIA’s women’s lunch on Monday, James, 30, said: “The ReWalk suit has been completely life-changing. It’s just been an amazing journey so far and this is just the beginning.”
James also thanked UJIA for “this amazing opportunity I’ve been given”.
A second suit has been presented to Druze Israeli soldier Zohar Gn’aim, who lives in the Galil.
Monday’s lunch, to mark International Women’s Day, on Sunday, raised £100,000 for the charity’s Opening Doors campaign, supporting higher education opportunities in the Galil. Guest speakers were Labour shadow minister Luciana Berger and Lord Daniel Finkelstein.
Women’s Committee chair Jacqueline Fine said: “The funds raised will ensure people living in the Galil have the opportunity to benefit from a higher education, something that is still sadly out of reach for far too many in northern Israel.”
Guests also heard from other recipients of UJIA support, Dr Randa Abbas, a Druze academic, and Lotem Barbie-Levi, an Israeli entrepreneur.