Blinded By The Will To Help, Volunteer Rushes Into Muslim Quarter To Help Arab Woman

United Hatzalah volunteer Neorai Tzemach works as a security guard at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. Whether on or off duty, Neorai is always ready with his medical skills to help a person in distress. However, there are occasions when he does not have his medical equipment with him, greatly hampering his effectiveness as an EMT. Fortunately, when such an occasion arose, Neorai was in close proximity to one of the Kest medical cases, which can be found throughout the city of Jerusalem.

Neorai providing medical security at a soccer game in Jerusalem

On Shabbat evening, a few weeks ago, Neorai decided to pray at the Western Wall. As he passed by the Kest medical case placed near Jaffa Gate, he made a mental note and continued on his way. The next day, at 11 p.m., the volunteer was on his way to a friend’s house for a Shabbat meal, and once again passed through Jaffa Gate. Just then, he received an emergency alert about a woman who had suffered a head injury on Sha’ar Hashalshelet St. in the Muslim Quarter. Remembering the medical kit from the previous day, Neorai grabbed it and raced into the Muslim Quarter.

“If you walk around the old city in Jerusalem, you will find many United Hatzalah medical kits attached to posts and walls, and you will see just how convenient they are,” commented Neorai.

“These medical kits have been put in place because roads are narrow and slippery in the old city and it is next to impossible for a motorized vehicle to respond to medical emergencies. First responders and ambulance teams need to park their vehicles outside of the old city and proceed on foot. Therefore, if the medical kits are already in place, it makes responding to medical emergencies in the densely populated old city, that much easier and lowers response times.”

Neorai added, “Unfortunately, there are a lot of terror attacks in and around the old city as well. When an attack happens, it can be a madhouse of people trying to rush to the scene to help. Any United Hatzalah EMT can grab one of these kits and use the equipment inside to provide a higher level of care for the patient in need of emergency treatment. I had the privilege of using one, and it made a big difference in the level of care that I was able to provide.”

Upon his entrance to the Muslim Quarter, a female soldier stopped him and asked where he was headed. After explaining the situation to her and another soldier who had heard of the incident just then, the male soldier escorted Neorai through the quarter. A police officer then joined the procession, affording Neorai even more protection in the potentially dangerous area.

Two minutes later, they found a semi-conscious Arab woman lying on the ground with a serious head wound. While the soldier and policeman positioned themselves to provide security, Neorai quickly took supplies from the medical kit and bandaged the woman’s bloody injury. While they waited another 10 minutes for an ambulance crew to arrive, the United Hatzalah EMT took vital signs and assessed the woman’s cognitive awareness. After the patient was passed on to the ambulance team, Neorai headed back to Jaffa Gate, returned the medical kit to the metal orange box, so that it would be in place for the next time a medical emergency occurred, and the next first responder who would need it. Once the kit was safely stowed, Neorai continued on to his Shabbat meal.

“I was startled a bit when the soldier had stopped me on my way into the Muslim Quarter,” Neorai added. “I was so blinded by my will to help the injured person, I didn’t think twice about my own safety possibly being compromised. I treated the Arab woman’s injury with care, and never once did I think of the fact that she was Muslim at all. That is what happens when you volunteer with United Hatzalah. People are people at the end of the day, regardless of their religion, race, or nationality. To me, it doesn’t matter what a person’s religion is. If they need medical aid, I will do everything I can to help them. We are all here to make a difference and change the world for the better. I do my part assisting in one emergency at a time.”

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