Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Crime of Being Jewish in Jerusalem

Hatzolah News Alert: Young Jewish Man Stabbed
to Death in Old City of Jerusalem

Young Jewish Man Murdered in Jerusalem. His crime -
being Jewish. I sit facing my computer, and words fail
me. I have just witnessed one of the most tragic and
traumatic events of my life.

“A Jewish young man died in my arms tonight.”

Yes, you read correctly. A Jewish man died in my arms
tonight. His sin? Being Jewish in Jerusalem. At about
8:25 this evening, we got a call from the MDA
dispatcher about a stabbing on Rechov David - the shuk
leading from Shaar Yaffo (Jaffa Gate) to the Kotel. I
immediately left my apartment and sped over to the
chaotic scene not far from there on a Hatzolah
ambucycle.

Upon arrival, a horrible sight greeted me. A young
Jewish man, lying in a pool of his own blood, with a
15" knife sticking out of his stomach. After being at
many bombings, car accidents and other traumatic
events, this scene had the distinction of being the
worst one I have ever seen. His skin a very pale
color, and his eyes half open, I reached him. The only
people around were police officers, who didn't really
know what to do. The young Jewish man was not
breathing, and he had no pulse. This is the nightmare
of any EMT. Alone, as the only person with medical
training at the scene, there is not much you can do.
Many tasks need to be done, and many people are needed
to do them. Starting CPR, connecting oxygen, starting
numerous IV's due to massive blood loss and trying to
stop the bleeding are some of the things that need to
be done, but in the seconds that I was there, my mind
stopped working.

One cannot think rationally in such situations - one
must act like a robot, doing whatever could be done as
quickly as possible. First, I called for backup on my
MIRS, and then I started CPR. Even with all of the
expensive equipment that we have, there are times that
the only thing you can use is a simple pocket mask.
Using a bag valve mask on a trauma patient that you
are having trouble opening an airway for is a waste of
time. It is close to impossible to use on your own on
such a patient. I took out my trusty face mask, and
started mouth to mouth resuscitation. I felt his lungs
fill up with air, and I was slightly encouraged. One
of the police officers started chest compressions (as
well as he could), and we continued basic CPR for a
minute or two. At this point, an ambulance with a
paramedic - Aryeh Yaffe - arrived at the scene, along
with Rafi Herbst and another volunteer. We now had
four sets of hands instead of one, and could now start
to try to save the young Jewish man's life. We
immediately searched for the wounds and tried to stop
the bleeding. At the same time we tried to start an
IV, but were having difficulty due to the massive
amounts of blood that he lost. We continued CPR, this
time with a bag valve mask and good compressions, and
in the meantime, more volunteers from the Jewish
Quarter arrived on foot, and quickly took my place.

Shortly thereafter a MDA Mobile ICU arrived and
continued to work on the patient - the Doctor I saw on
their crew was one of the best I have ever seen
working under pressure and keeping his cool - as well
as giving fantastic care to the patient. Soon, we had
three IV's running, and we were trying to restart the
young man's heart using drugs. Atropine, Sodium
Bicarbonate were used among other drugs, and soon we
had a heart rhythm on the EKG, although we did not
have a pulse. We moved the patient to the mobile ICU
who transferred him to the trauma center at Haddassah
Ein Karem, but the young man was pronounced dead in
the operating room - he had a massive gash in the
veins and arteries in his stomach, and we could not
save him. When I had arrived at the scene previously -
he was no longer with us, yet we tried everything that
we could to bring him back - to no avail.

What was the young man's crime? What did he do wrong?
Why was he murdered by our 'peace partners'? To us,
the residents of the Old City, these answers are
clear. The arabs want us out of Israel - out of
Jerusalem. They see clearly that violence and
terrorism against Jews works, as witnessed in Gaza and
Gush Katif - five years of violence culminated in the
surrender of the Jews. Now, they clearly say that they
want Jerusalem - and the way for them to get it is
through blood - our blood.

A friend of mine commented tonight, "Jewish blood is
not cheap. It's free." The terrorism will continue -
and will get much worse in Jerusalem. One thing I can
tell you - we won't run. We will stand firm, and
remain here until one side wins - us or them. The
battle is for the soul of the Land of Israel - let no
one think otherwise. In the meantime, I'm sure you are
asking yourselves - what can be done?

The answer, as I see it, is threefold. Physical help:
This includes writing to congressmen, senators,
politicians; trying to influence the viewpoint of
others around you; visiting Israel; helping us in our
struggle. After tonight, I've realized that every
volunteer EMT in the Old City should have a gun with
him - we need to raise money for that as well (I can
be reached at moshe@hatzolah.org.il for more
information as to how to donate). I never thought that
as an EMT I'd be trying to raise money for guns - the
instruments of death, but times have changed. There
are also other medical items that we need - reach me
at the email address above. More importantly, we must
realize that our fate is decided in Heaven. When a
decree comes from before G-d, we must take a deeper
look at ourselves and try to find what is wrong
spiritually. Each of us must make additional effort in
the spiritual realm to do more mitzvot and study
Torah, and through that may we merit the rescinding of
the terrible sword that hangs above our heads.

Let us cry together. Let us understand that a Jew
murdered in Jerusalem must have an impact upon the
entire Jewish nation - we must realize the depths that
we have reached. We are a splintered, fragmented
nation - each of us finding fault with the other. At
the very least, let us join together in sorrow, and
cry as one for the blood of a young man, murdered in
Jerusalem simply because he was a Jew. Please pass
this message on. We must wake up and realize where
this is leading. We must arise to the challenge given
to us and join together to be victorious.

Written in sorrow by Moshe Simons, EMT Hatzolah & MDA
Volunteer Hatzolah Newsletter Editor Jewish Quarter,
Jerusalem moshe@hatzolah.org.il

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