Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Terror Attack...and a Parent's Worst Moments in Israel

There are moments in Israel that I want to translate to those abroad. I don't know if I have the words...and that is something that bothers me...but I'm going to try.

About an hour ago, an Arab took a knife and attacked a young soldier. He stabbed him - in the upper chest, in the neck...exactly where is not yet hit the news sites...not that it matters...the young soldier has been airlifted to Jerusalem. He is in serious condition.

The Arab was shot and killed by other soldiers. Teams of soldiers and emergency responders arrived. The Arab's body was covered with a blanket and left there until the soldier was evacuated and the event investigated, documented, understood.

A family received a phone call - it has to be a phone call because they won't waste time while the soldier is alive and in serious condition. Whatever plans they had for his half-holiday have been canceled.

Passover lasts 7 days in Israel (8 outside of Israel...don't ask me to explain that now, please). The first and last days are considered "Yom Tov" - special, holy...we do not drive on these days, most public transportation and stores are closed and, like the Sabbath, we spend these days with family, in the synagogues, with friends. The middle five days are considered something in between regular days and holy days - still a holiday, but not to the same level as those other two days.

And so on these days, we travel, we hike, we visit. We picnic by the lake and take the kids to the zoo...

This young soldier's family might have already left for a hike somewhere or planned to have friends over for a barbecue. Instead, a short time ago...in the past hour, they received the call they have been fearing since the day their son entered the army. Somewhere in Israel, they are driving to the hospital...or maybe if they are from Jerusalem, they are just arriving there.

If the soldier is a lone soldier, a boy who chose to come serve in the army here, as our Yaakov and Chaim did, while his family is still living abroad, then that "adopted" family is frantically driving to Jerusalem. If the boy has two parents living together...one could be driving and one on the phone. Imagine, if you can, the combination of terror and tears...or perhaps they are more capable of coping with a crisis. Some people fall apart later, others fall apart immediately.

I used to be better with things than I am now...I didn't handle the air raid siren well this past summer when I knew that Aliza was outside somewhere. I didn't handle it well when Elie's wife called me to tell me that they were driving back to the house...that Elie had been called to fight almost three years ago.

I want you to imagine what it is almost impossible to imagine. How ridiculous is that? I pray you are never where these parents are now...I pray to God I am never there...

How do you breathe? How do you drive a car? But you have to, don't you - you have to get to your son...the whole time fearing what you will find...please God, let him live...please let them be able to fix him and save him and please let him be all that he was before.

It's a bit over an hour and 20 minutes since the attack...at this moment, the doctor's are working. It's been released that there was another soldier also stabbed but lightly. He is the one who shot the terrorist.

This is the hard part...these next few hours until they release a news update to tell us how the soldier is doing...

I have no experience with this...other than for the endless times, deep in the darkness of the night, when I imagined this happening, imagined the phone call, the desperation to hear my son's voice, to know he was okay or would be okay.

I imagined the frantic drive...once, when we were in Eilat, I imagined the frantic flight because I wouldn't have wasted four hours driving, I reasoned...all to get there to see him, to touch, to hug...

I pray that the parents of this young man are already there - have already been allowed to see him...though chances are he is still being cared for. But the hospital personnel are experts here. They have skills they have been learning for decades.

Someone will come and brief the parents immediately, will sit with them, get them something to drink, to eat. They will not be alone. Soon, someone from the boy's unit - his commanding officer and perhaps even higher, will be there and will sit with them as well.

Friends and neighbors will organize food for the family, help take care of younger children if needed. Whatever they need, Israel will see to it and maybe that will bring comfort later on. They will never be alone - all of Israel is with them at this horrible moment and hopefully well into the future as they help their son get better.

For now, there is only the need, the fear...

I watched a posted video as the ambulance pulled into the hospital. I don't know if this is with the first soldier or the second, but even as the ambulance was stopping, medics were rushing to open the doors...inside, in addition to the wounded soldier, was another who had ridden with him. Never alone...the wounded soldier was wheeled quickly from the ambulance...the other soldier looking a bit lost, a bit overwhelmed, quickly followed. Never alone.

More news is coming out - the critically wounded soldier was a paramedic...the soldier who shot the terrorist was a medic who assisted him. They have dedicated their army service to helping others...and now they are in need.

May God watch over this young man, this boy...send him a refuah shlayma - a fast and complete recovery. May He send strength to the family and bless them with all that they need in the days to come.

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