An Odd Night At a Military Checkpoint

Yossi Rosen in a United Hatzalah volunteer who lives in Peduel, a small town located in Samaria. One Saturday night at 4:00 am, he was awakened by his United Hatzalah radio that announced that there was a medical emergency in his area. “Child, head wound, Deir Balut junction checkpoint,” said the dispatcher on the radio.

Yossi Rosen

Due to his proximity to the incident, Rosen immediately jumped out of bed, radioing back that he was on the way and asking if there would be a military backup (since the junction could be a likely spot for terror attacks). The United Hatzalah dispatcher informed him that in fact, it was the IDF soldiers at the checkpoint who had called for help. Following the confirmation that the scene was safe Rosen quickly raced off to aid the child in need of help.

When he got to the scene Rosen saw a Muslim couple with their 5-year-old son who were standing at the checkpoint. Rosen approached and found that the frightened child had sustained a head injury. The injury had already stopped bleeding and after taking vitals and performing a quick but thorough examination, the experienced medic saw that the child was okay.

Rosen turned to the parents to try and clarify how the child had suffered the head injury. Communication was difficult since the couple’s Hebrew was extremely limited. One of the IDF soldiers knew basic Arabic and after a few misunderstandings, Rosen gleaned that the child had suddenly started convulsing wildly and fallen off of his bed. Rosen spent some time (with the help of the obliging soldier) explaining to the parents that child convulsions should not be taken lightly and then explained how to deal with child seizures. Of course, he also strongly recommended that the child should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

The little boy was still scared and bewildered. Remembering that he had a candy in his pocket from an aufruf that Shabbat, Rosen offered the child the candy to help him relax. The father asked Yossi why he had a candy on him at this time of night, and Yossi found himself explaining the custom of throwing candies at a chatan after the reading of the Torah… The family then proceeded to ask what a Torah Scroll was. The situation became continuously more surreal as Rosen found himself explaining various Jewish concepts one after another to the curious Muslim couple at an IDF checkpoint at 4:30 on Saturday morning.

Rosen returned home bemused and gratified that he had been able to help the couple and the little boy. “As a United Hatzalah volunteer, we are trained to recognize the value in every person’s life no matter who they are. I was just happy that I was able to help this child and his family. Trading cultural information afterward and learning one from another, that was just an extra bonus that happens too infrequently here in the Middle East,” Rosen concluded.

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