Israel and Palestine are inching closer to war after several days of violence. Tensions were inflamed when Israeli police stormed a mosque in Jerusalem late last week. As both Palestinians and Israelis fear for their lives, one doctor is trying to rise above the fray. He was recently seen rescuing a Jewish man from an attempted lynching in a Muslim city in the region known as the Galilee.
An Act of Bravery Amid the Chaos
Sources say the violence in Israel and along the Gaza Strip has become extremely personal, with residents and angry mobs facing off against one another.
Yesterday, a Jewish man entered the city of Tamra to run some errands, but a gang rioting in the streets attacked him and started stabbing him in the neck. A bystander who witnessed the attack immediately called for help as the man started to bleed out from his injuries.
That’s when Dr. Muhammad Awad, 33, an emergency room physician at the Bnei Zion Medical Center in the city of Haifa, arrived on the scene along with several EMTs and paramedics. When he saw the Jewish man being hassled by the mob, he ran into the crowd without hesitation.
“We entered the protest with all of our strength and found the man suffering from a stab wound to his neck and contusions all over his body,” Awad said. “People were continuing to hit him. We yelled at everyone to stop immediately and we tried to extricate him from the angry mob. That is when we began to get hit ourselves.”
The violence persisted even as Dr. Awad tried to help the patient. “People kept trying to hit him even after we loaded him up and tried to get him in the ambulance. I covered him with my own body and this is how I saved his life.”
“This all took place in the heart of the village during the protests. This is where cars were burnt and where it is dangerous for even the police to enter,” Awad explained.
An Ode to First Responders
Dr. Awad is also a member of United Hatzalah, a network of around 6,000 volunteer providers who use specially equipped motorcycles in emergency care situations.
Eli Beer, President and Founder of United Hatzalah, commented on the situation. “What Dr. Muhammad Awad and the other staff from the ambulance did was absolutely heroic. Putting themselves in harm’s way to save their fellow man is not something that many of us would do,” Beer said.
“In our training courses, we teach that the most important thing a first responder must worry about is their own safety. But in this instance, there was no option to do anything other than what Dr. Awad and the others did in order to save the man who was being beaten by an angry mob,” Beer added. “For this act, as well as the many other times that Dr. Awad and the other responders have helped people, they are true heroes.”
Dr. Awad’s colleagues were quick to sing his praises as well.
“Dr. Awad is a true warrior and a hero who saves lives every day in the Emergency Room. He didn’t think or make calculations, but did what he knows best – saved lives,” said Dr. Ohad Hochman, CEO of Bnai Zion Medical Center.
“He is a symbol of the beautiful coexistence of the Bnai Zion Medical Center. Our diverse staff works together in peace and harmony to benefit the people of Haifa and Northern Israel,” Dr. Hochman added.
The crisis continues as both sides seem unwilling to cease fire. It’s considered the worst outbreak since the war of 2014. Israel has conducted hundreds of air raids on Gaza, while Palestinian militants have shot hundreds of rockets deep into Israel.
There have been losses on both sides. Six Israelis have died, while the Gaza Health Ministry reports that Israel airstrikes have killed at least 65 people in Gaza, including 16 children.
Tor Wennesland, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, recently tweeted, “Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full-scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation. The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working with all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now.”
The U.S. is currently negotiating with both sides, but it’s not clear if these efforts will be successful. So far, neither side appears to be willing to come to the table.
We hope the best for the people of Israel and the Palestinians. Hopefully, the violence ends sooner rather than later.