TEL AVIV – A Palestinian man has been fired from his job for the crime of saving the Jewish children of a West Bank rabbi after the latter was killed in a terror attack.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the head of Mount Hebron Regional Council Yochai Damari said that Israel should do everything to help the man find employment.
“I met with him and he asked me to help remove any obstacle preventing him from receiving a work permit [to work in Israel],” Damari wrote.
On July 1, Rabbi Michael (Miki) Mark was driving in his car when a Palestinian terrorist sprayed the vehicle with bullets, killing him and critically injuring his wife. A local Palestinian and his wife came to the rescue by hauling the surviving members of the Mark family from the overturned vehicle and administering first aid until first responders arrived at the scene.
Damari said that the Palestinian man “protected the children in his car and made sure that no one hurt them or tried to kidnap them. He did this despite the fact that dozens of vehicles passed by, threatened him and demanded that he stop treating Jews. After a few minutes a doctor arrived who was also on his way to Jerusalem. He provided first aid to the wounded and continued on his way when the rescue teams arrived.”
“This week I wrote a letter to the defense minister [Avigdor Liberman], requesting help in getting a work permit for the two of them. I met with them, I am aware of the difficulties, but I think that in cases like this it is our obligation as the Jewish nation to show our thanks to people who behave as upstanding people and act in a way expected of them in situations like this,” Damari said.
“Particularly at this time we must strengthen the positive forces and send a clear message that normal positive behavior will lead us [Israel] to also behave normally and positively,” he wrote.
In an interview on Israeli television, the Palestinian rescuer said that at first he was unaware that the car had been involved in an attack.
“At first I thought it was an accident. I opened the door, which was difficult because the car was overturned,” the Palestinian told Channel 2. “The girl was inside the car screaming, ‘They’re killing us,’ so I just kept telling her not to be afraid and that everything would be fine.”
He recounted how his wife, a doctor, worked to stem the bleeding from a wound in the abdomen of one of the teenagers while he called an ambulance.
“She was telling them in English, ‘Do not be afraid, we are here to help you,’” he recalled.
First he pulled 14-year-old Tehila Mark from the wreckage before removing her older brother Pedaya.
“I took the boy and I hugged him. I gave him some water and applied iodine, and just kept telling him that everything was going to be fine,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me if it was an accident or a terror attack, it’s irrelevant. These are people, children, who need help, and if I can help, I will help them.
“The girl told me, ‘God sent an Arab to help us,’” he added.
Chavi Mark’s sister, Yisca, came to their defense when someone on Facebook posted a comment about “Arab scumbag murderers.”
“I really need to tell you that the first ones at the scene were an Arab couple who rescued my family members, gave first aid and called the ambulance,” she posted in response to the comment. “I think that we should use the term terrorists and not Arabs, because not all Arabs are terrorists, and I’m saying this from experience.”