On Shabbat evening just before 7:00 p.m., a man was in the water in the ski lake in Begin Park located in southern Tel Aviv, when he began to feel tired and couldn’t swim anymore. He thrashed in the water and screamed for help before going under. A police officer in the area rushed over and helped pull the man out of the water together with other bystanders. The officer initiated CPR as emergency services were called.

Tel Aviv beach rescue 1 1
Tel Aviv beach rescue (Illustration)

Shalom Cohen, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT living in the area, received dispatch’s emergency alert, as did another United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Amit Sinai. Both volunteers were at home enjoying the quiet evening hours, Amit was on duty with the ambulance for the weekend and rushed down to the emergency vehicle, switched on the lights and sirens, and raced to the location. He saw the officer performing CPR compressions and took over from the officer after attaching a defibrillator. Amit continued compressions for the next two minutes and managed to bring back the man’s pulse.  


A mobile intensive care ambulance arrived as did Shalom Cohen, who was traveling in his private car and unable to drive through red lights thus making his trip there longer. The additional EMS personnel joined the effort to stabilize the patient and prepare him for transport. 


“It is always a terrific feeling to save a life,” Amit, a veteran EMT, said after Shabbat was over. “No matter when the emergency alert comes in, I drop what I am doing and rush over to help. But saving a life on Shabbat, for me, makes the rescue all that much sweeter. It means that I had a hand in maintaining the holiness of Shabbat and preventing a tragedy on this special day. I have to say thank you to the officer who initiated CPR as well as the rest of the team who I worked together with, we all had a part in saving this man’s life.” 

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