On Monday, just after 9:00 p.m., a man who was suffering from a mental health condition climbed the White Mosque in Ramle and threatened to commit suicide by jumping off the building. People on the street called the police as they witnessed him throwing his clothing off the side of the building. Police arrived quickly and called for emergency medical services to assist.
Martial Arts instructor and United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Avraham Arnon, who lives in Ramle and teaches martial arts at the local community center was just waking up when he received the alert. “I didn’t even have time to throw a shirt on, I grabbed my motorcycle jacket and rushed out to respond to the emergency,” Arnon recounted.
Arnon arrived a the scene less than three minutes later and saw the man begin hurling stones and pipes from the roof at the gathered police below. “I moved my ambucycle to a safe distance and then asked the gathered officers what the situation was.”
The police briefed Arnon that the man was requesting to speak to someone who was a former border police officer and that they were calling one from the force to come to the scene. Arnon told the officers that he was a former border police officer and was then told the name of the person on the roof so that he could begin talking to him. Arnon recognized the man’s name as a former student in his martial arts program many years before.
“I began to speak to the man and build up a rapport. We spoke about being in the border police unit and about a shared love for martial arts. I asked him if I could come up to join him on the roof and he agreed.”
“Just then the police negotiators from the Yamam, (special police unit) arrived and we attempted to get to the top of the tower by using the ladder of a firetruck but it didn’t reach. We climbed the stairs but they were blocked by bars. I asked him if we could bring a firefighter to cut the bars up the stairs and he agreed. He also asked for cigarettes and some water. Once the bars were cut I brought him the water. He asked for the cigarettes and I told him I don’t have any because I rushed over right from bed. He told me to call my wife and tell her that I was okay and I did. Then I told him I could get him cigarettes when we climbed down from the tower of the mosque.”
After continuing to build up a rapport with the man, Arnon, together with the police negotiator managed to talk him down off of the ledge and get him to agree to come down to the ground level.
“I’ve been a volunteer EMT for more than two years and this is the first time I have ever been in this type of situation,” Arnon added. “I am thankful that I was able to reach a rapport with the man and that everything ended positively. It was a very stressful situation and I am thankful that together with the police negotiator I was able to bring him down off of the tower.”
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