September 24, 2004

Heroes

Willow Tree told of her husband's close call and of the jolt she felt yesterday.
Two brave young men Lance Cpl. Menashe Komemi and an Ethiopian immigrant Lance Cpl. Mamoya Tahio tried to stop the terrorist and paid with their lives. There is little doubt that many more would have been killed if they hadn't intercepted her.
They are not the only brave ones.
I don't know how someone can act knowing that he will be at grave risk, but that's what they did.
There's Haim Smadar, who became suspicious of a different teenage girl two and a half years ago. He struggled with her, and said "You are not coming in here. You and I will blow up here." He knew he was going to die, but he fought anyway. He might have saved ten or twenty people in the supermarket he was guarding. Unfortunately he was unable to save a teenager Rachel Levy or himself. More on Haim Smadar here.
Not all stories end in death though. In July 2003, I heard Natan Sandanka, a young Ethiopian immigrant describe his encounter with a bomber.

A group of terror victims had been touring the United States under the auspices of the One Family Fund. After a presentation to two young men from the group, one of them, Natan Sandaka, told his story. He immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia as part of Operation Solomon in 1991. After spending seven years in school, he enlisted in the army and became a border policeman. He said that the training was hard. He was stationed near Ramallah, and took part in exercises, including nighttime raids into the city and making arrests. Itís hard to imagine that his training prepared him for what happened in September 2001.

As Natan was on patrol in Yerushalayim, just outside Bikur Cholim hospital, a woman approached him and his partner, Guy Mugrabi. She noted that a chareidi-looking man nearby was acting erratically. Natan and Guy approached the man, who also wore a backpack. They noticed that he smelled of alcohol. This was a bad sign, because self-exploding bombers often were drugged or drunk when they attacked. (Historically, this harks back to the cult of the assassins that existed in Islamic lands 1000 years ago. The assassins were killers who were directed by their leader to kill his enemies. Unlike their modern day counterparts, they did not kill themselves, but they expected to be caught and executed. They also were drugged; in fact, the word ďassassinĒ derives from the word hashish, or marijuana.)

Despite his suspicions, Natan did not fire at the man. He wasnít absolutely certain he was a bomber, and didnít want to shoot an innocent accidentally. Natan followed the man for a bit as the suspect seemed to be trying to get away. Then the man stopped, turned around, smiled a faint smile and . . .

Natan took the brunt of the blast. He said he saw himself lying on the street covered in blood, unable to get up. He was conscious for about 20 seconds and thought that he would die. Before he blacked out, he wanted to make sure that his partner was okay.

The doctors didnít think that Natan would recover. He suffered from burns over half his body in addition to a punctured lung. For two weeks he was in a coma. The people of Israel followed his story as he lay in the hospital for several months until, miraculously, he was able to leave on his own.

The authorities later learned that the bomber whom Natan had intercepted had a partner. When the partner was arrested, he said that the pair were supposed to blow themselves in the nursery of Bikur Cholim Hospital. Israeli authorities then apprehended a ring or terrorists who were to target schools. The actions of Natan and Guy thus prevented a series of cold-blooded assault on babies and children.

(Here's another perspective of this terror attack.)

I had prayed for Natan's recovery so it was wonderful to see him in person and (seemingly) fully recovered.

All five of these men mentioned above are unbelievable heroes. They knowingly put their lives on the line to save others. Unfortunately three of them died in the process.

Crossposted on Israpundit and Soccer Dad.

Posted by SoccerDad at September 24, 2004 03:00 AM | TrackBack
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