Fired for helping terror victims

A Palestinian helped in the aftermath of the terror attack that killed Rabbi Mark. Photo courtesy of the Fire and Rescue Service

JERUSALEM – A Palestinian who offered assistance at the scene of a July 1 terrorist attack in Israel in which a rabbi was killed, has been dismissed from his public service job in the Palestinian Authority.

J, whose full name has not been made public, was the first of two Palestinians who provided assistance to Rabbi Michael Mark, who was shot by Palestinian terrorists while driving on Route 60 near Hebron on July 1. 

Rabbi Mark’s wife and two of their children were wounded in the attack. The Palestinian man helped Mark’s children escape the overturned vehicle. 

“I did what I did out of humanity. These are children. There were children inside. There were people inside. I didn’t hesitate at all,” he told Channel 2.

Another Palestinian, Dr Ali Abu Sherech from the Hebron area, also stopped at the scene within minutes of the attack and provided medical care to the family.

“As a doctor, I am committed to saving lives, whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian,” Sherech said. The Palestinian Authority has declined to comment on its decision to dismiss J from his public service job.

A relative of J’s told Israel Hayom, “Since it became clear that he was the first to arrive at the scene of the attack and that he helped the victims, he and his family have been subjected to a smear campaign and received threats.

“More than anything, it hurts him that he was fired from his job in the public sector of the Palestinian Authority. They told him that he was let go because of budget cuts, but he was the only one who was fired a few days after the incident,” the relative said, stressing that J does not regret his decision to help the Mark family.

Yochai Damari, the head of the Har Hebron Regional Council, said that he had met with J, who had asked him to help arrange an Israeli work permit for him. Following the meeting, Damari approached Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman asking for help.

“In situations like these, it is our duty as a Jewish nation to show gratitude toward people who behave like upstanding human beings,” Damari also wrote on Facebook.

“Specifically at a time like this, it is important to strengthen the positive forces and to send a clear message that normal and positive behaviour like this will result in a normal and positive reward from us,” he said.

EFRAT FORSHER, DANIEL SIRYOTI & YORI YALON