On Wednesday, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Ariel Pachima paid a visit to a Muslim father and son whom he rescued and treated on the 7th of October, following the attack by Hamas terrorists that claimed the life of the man’s wife together with more than 1,400 other Israelis. 

Early on the morning of October 7th, Hamed and Fatima, residents of the Bedouin town of Arara BaNegev were driving to Mivtachim, a town close to the Gaza border, where Hamed works in a greenhouse growing tomatoes. They had brought along with them their young boy in the back of the car. As Hamed stopped the car at an intersection, Hamas terrorists on motorcycles who had infiltrated Israeli territory, opened fire on Hamed and Fatima’s car. Hamed’s wife was killed almost immediately, while Hamed and their infant son sustained injuries from shrapnel.

Hamed managed to exit the car and sought refuge with his child, remaining in hiding for several hours. At one point he and his son were caught in a crossfire between Hamas terrorists and IDF soldiers and he thought they were going to die. After the soldiers eliminated the terrorists they found Hamed hiding and were about to shoot him as they thought that he too was a terrorist. The company commander, noticing the child, and Hamed speaking some Hebrew, told the soldiers not to shoot as he was Israeli. “I saw my death right in front of me until the commander said I was Israeli,” Hamed told Ariel during the meetup. 

After the soldiers left, Hamed decided to leave the area with a car he found and drove to the Ofakim intersection nearby, that is where he crossed paths with Ariel who was serving as an EMT on an ambulance. Ariel was on a makeshift response team that consisted of only him and the ambulance driver, whom he didn’t even know. “When I arrived in the south to help I was told to simply get on the ambulance and go help people. The driver and I didn’t even have enough time to get to know one other, we just went and helped whoever we could, and we found Hamed and his son.

Hamed had sustained shrapnel injuries to his back, and the boy had shrapnel injuries to his shoulder and upper torso. Both were bleeding. Ariel cleaned and bandaged the wounds, while the driver drove as fast as he could to Soroka Hospital, knowing that they would need to come back and treat and transport others. 

Following this encounter, Pachima lost contact with Hamed. Ariel, who works at a cement factory in Beer Sheva was approached by a fellow employee who lives in Arara BaNegev and is Hamed’s neighbor who reconnected the two.

Yesterday, Pachima arrived with a basket of fruit at Hamed’s house to extend condolences for the passing of Hamed’s wife and support for him and his son. The encounter was emotional. Hamed expressed his gratitude, stating, “Thank you. The situation was completely crazy, and despite it all, you risked your life to save others. We will be strong, and I wish you to continue to be strong also.”