My 20 year old son, Raphael, was in a car at the time of the terror attack this week near Shilo, and arrived at the site of the attack, by chance, just moments afterwards. This is Raphael's story, feelings and thoughts. (I have translated this from the original Hebrew).
This time, it was not ‘just’ another name, another headline, which ran “a man died of his wounds from a terror attack at Gidon Junction”.
This time it was for-real; this time I saw the man; this time I touched him; I had felt him struggling to breathe with all his strength; I heard him wheezing in his efforts to stay alive; I smelled his sweat and his blood.
I am a local civilian resident of the village of Achia, and by a miracle I was saved from the shooting having arrived by car at the site on the road just minutes after the murderous attack.
I suddenly recalled what I had learned in a MDA medics course five years’ previously, and I immediately needed to treat the wounded; not fractures and dislocations, but I found myself surrounded by groaning people, with no ambulance yet at the scene, just a medic from our car who shouted out instructions to us. I helped in treating Malachi, who lay by the vehicle unconscious and with a bullet entry wound in his stomach and exit would from his thigh. We kept his air tract open and tried to stem the bleeding. Around me, others starting treating the other wounded, and from my point of view, there was one objective – to keep Malachi breathing.
The ambulances soon arrived and began to evacuate the wounded, as I tried to recall the instructions about how to correctly evacuate wounded people, and how I could assist to get this wounded man onto the stretcher. We lifted him into the ambulance, which rushed him to the hospital.
I also helped with evacuating another wounded man; this time I saw a man lying flat on the ground by the road with an entry and exist wound in his leg. I helped get him up, onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.
I looked around me and began to understand what had taken place; I saw the pock-marked vehicle, saw the blood on its floor, I understood that the accursed terrorists shot at them from a passing vbehciel and continued south – they must passed our car seconds after they started, successfully, to kill Jews.
All that day, I prayed for Malachi to recover, I was overwhelmed with concern for him and hoed with all my heart that he would survive. When I heard the tragic news that Malachi had died this was unlike hearing about other terror attacks, this time I had seen him dying, I had a connection, not just a bit, with the murdered man and the pain was stronger than I had felt for other victims, I felt that I should have helped him more, and if I had addressed the crisis differently, perhaps he would have survived…
When I saw the interview with Yair, the second wounded man I helped evacuate, and he thanked all those who had helped with treating them, I was very moved; even though I have heard many wounded people publicly thank their rescuers, this time was different.
It was difficult to hear that Malachi died; it was even more difficult to see what had happened in the field and to know that Malachi will not be the last Jew to be murdered here, before the security forces will effectively protect us; Arabs murder Jews, whether we be right wing or left wing, without evoking a firm response, not vengeance, and not even deterrence. To murder Jews is like a hobby for these Arabs, because there is no price for them – they operate with impunity.
Maybe this should be changed? Maybe the death sentence needs to be introduced for terrorists who murder? Maybe solitary confinement for terrorists for the rest of their lives?.
Malachi, God should avenge your blood.