I was sent the following story by my daughter, an IDF lone soldier combat medic serving north of Sderot. The author is a young man named Michi, another lone soldier medic in her “garin.” The postscript to this story is written by Kahn, a combat lone soldier in the same “garin.” I have met both of these fine young people when visiting my daughter, and I’m not one bit surprised they stepped up to the plate.
I was supposed to be there. We were supposed to be on our way to the Bnei Akiva snif, and we would have been right there. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life; one moment we were joking about how the Iron Dome always hits its targets and the next moment we heard a boom like we had never heard before. We knew that it was close. What we didn’t realize was that it was only three stories above us, in the building next to us.
We ran outside to see if anyone was injured and if we could help. This was the moment when the next rocket came. I jumped behind the door and my friend dropped to the ground, covering his head. He and I both watched the rocket explode maybe 20 feet away from us. I saw the shrapnel whiz over his head. Thank God none of us were hurt. We ran inside just in time for the next rocket to hit about a street away. We waited about half a minute and then ran outside. We knew that people were injured and that we were going to be the first there.
I put my gloves on, that I had in my back pocket, and we ran into a house. All we saw was smoke and heard the screaming of injured people. I went outside and grabbed two people, telling them to call an ambulance straight away. I went back into the house and turned on my torch searching for the injured. I found them: two girls, one male and another older woman who seemed to only be in shock. All had been cut from the shrapnel of the rocket. I began to search for arterial bleeds.
They had just been doing what every normal family does on Shabbat. They were sitting together inside and didn’t hear the code red siren, and then boom. The sound still rings through my ears.
Two ambulances arrived and we started taking out the injured. We put the two most injured into the MICU ambulance and it left for the hospital.
The driver of the other ambulance tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I don’t have another medic, get in,” and I jumped into the ambulance and closed the door.
I started searching the patients more intensely for bleeds, while speaking to the injured girl. She kept saying, “I’m going to die, aren’t I?” I held her hand, and asked her what her name was. I told her that I’m a medic and that I was here for her, that everything would be all right.
Another MICU ambulance met us, and we transferred her to it. The driver told me that it would take him time to get back to the house because of cars and the police and that I should go on foot, so I listened and ran back to the house. That’s when I saw the last injured person: the mother who had witnessed it all. She wasn’t injured physically but was having a very hard time after the things that she had seen. She, too, was taken to hospital.
After searching the entire building for other injured people we moved on to closing down the road and blocking off the area. A police officer and I set up the blocks, along with a friend of mine who was also helping throughout the incident. With no other injured people and the situation under control, it was time to check that we had done as much as possible to help and then return to the safety of the houses and their bomb shelters.
We arrived back home, covered in blood, where we threw out our shirts and washed the blood from our arms.
I won’t stand by. I won’t let this story go untold. The situation in southern Israel needs to be shared. It needs to be heard by the wider international community. I won’t let this be silenced. The civilians in the south can’t sleep at night. The children are scared. A whole family can’t sleep in a bomb shelter. Our kids cannot grow up living this type of life.
Thank you to the man up above that I am still here today. The situation could have been very different. It could easily have been a story about two soldiers who tried to help and were caught by a second rocket.
These things show us that every single person can make a difference. No matter where you live, no matter who you are.
Postscript: An ordinary day became something else. I watched my life flash before me as a rocket fell just as I dropped down to pick up my kippah after running to check if anyone was injured. There was someone watching over me. The second I dropped to pick up my kippah I heard a whistle. I prayed as I dropped to the ground, covering my head. I felt the shock wave pass over me. My friend Michi jumped behind the wall, watching the shrapnel fly over me, and then came running out to make sure I was ok. We got back in the the house, just as another rocket fell. We waited a few seconds, and then the adrenaline kicked in. We ran out to check for injuries. As we entered the house we saw people taking pictures and videos instead of calling for help. We started giving effective and rapid treatment and assessing to make sure there were no dangerous bleeds. We also started evacuating people to ambulances.
Only later did the shock set in of what actually occurred. We tried to not show anything because there were kids present. This isn’t a way of life. No human should have to live in fear. No kid should have to hide, crying, asking where their dad is. It is time the world sees that Hamas is a terrorist group. And that they must be punished strongly for their actions.
By Zev Rosenberg