This week we honour a small handful of the many heroes that emerged during the recent catastrophe in Israel:
Michael Shamai, a former IAF pilot, was completing his shift flying a medical rescue helicopter when he got the call about the attack. Together with his Ecuadorian copilot, he immediately headed south to rescue as many victims as possible. Shamai had to fly multiple missions “in the dark” without GPS navigation, maneuvering away from gunfire and rockets, without any protection or even a helmet, saving dozens. Guy Madar was celebrating the holiday with his family in Kiryat Gat when he heard of the attack. He grabbed his firearm, got in his car, and drove down to Re’im where he encountered terrorists. He killed six of them and rescued an injured soldier. He then joined a policeman on the scene and they continued driving further south together before being ambushed by another group of terrorists. Madar and the policeman both got shot, but managed to eliminate all the terrorists. Madar secured a tourniquet to his bleeding leg, and was nearly unconscious when discovered by a team of IDF soldiers, who at first confused him for a terrorist before seeing his tzitzit. In Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, social worker Amichai Shindler was hiding with his family in the safe room when terrorists tried to burst inside. He kept them at bay, so they set off explosives near the door. Shindler absorbed the blow to save his wife and six children, losing his right arm and suffering major injuries to his face, jaw, and left hand. He lay bleeding for another three and a half hours before medics arrived. At Kibbutz Be’eri, paramedic Amit Mann was treating victims and saving lives for hours on end without rest before terrorists appeared. She did whatever she could to protect and hide the wounded in her clinic before being murdered. Aner Elyakim Shapiro was at the music festival and packed into a nearby bomb shelter with a large group of people. Terrorists threw grenades into the shelter, and Shapiro bravely threw them back outside. He deflected seven grenades before the eighth detonated in his hand. Shapiro perished, but saved everyone else inside. Witnesses described him as a “guardian angel”. Matan Abergil was in an armoured personnel carrier with 6 other soldiers when a terrorist threw a grenade inside the vehicle. Abergil quickly jumped on top and absorbed the blow, saving all of his fellow soldiers.
Words of the Week
The less we fear God, the more we fear the non-Jew and develop in our collective psyche an inferiority complex toward him. The latent power of fear in the soul seeks an outlet, and object to fear. It is either God or others… When it becomes clear in our minds and our hearts that a Jew must fear God alone, the fear of God becomes the motivating power necessary to stand up and fight against our enemies.
– Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh