Four years after surviving a terrorist attack, S. is an intelligence officer

When Maj. If he joined the IDF six years ago, he did not imagine that it would be a life-changing event. In more ways than one.

S., whose full name cannot be shared for security reasons, is the oldest of six siblings and grew up in Shomron, the West Bank. He did his national service and then a degree in communications, but still “I haven’t quite found my place,” he said.

Growing up in a religious environment, “I never thought I would join the military. Nobody was against it, but it just wasn’t the norm. “

For S. and her friends, who had no knowledge of women’s positions in the military, joining the IDF as a woman was “just to make coffee or be a secretary. And I wanted to do more important things. “

At age 25, he joined the military and went to the IDF officers course, which, while “it wasn’t easy, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life,” he said.

Bahad 1, the IDF officer training academy near Mitzpe Ramon (Credit: ILLUSTRATIVE: LIOR MOR VIA WIKIPEDIA)

Two months after the course, she was participating in a group of troops visiting Jerusalem as part of the IDF’s “Cultural Sundays”, where they had been touring important historical and national sites in the capital.

It was supposed to be just another trip to the country’s capital and the group was supposed to be at Armon Hanatziv for just ten minutes. S. didn’t want to join their company when they got off the bus, but they pushed her to join them, a minute’s walk away.

When he joined them and greeted a friend of the group, a truck driven by Fadi al-Qanbar, a resident of the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of Jerusalem, crashed into them before reversing and running over more of the group.

Members of Zaka's rescue and recovery team at the scene of the terrorist attack in Armon Hanatziv, Jerusalem (credit: REUTERS)Members of Zaka’s rescue and recovery team at the scene of the terrorist attack in Armon Hanatziv, Jerusalem (credit: REUTERS)

While S. does not remember the attack itself, he does remember the moments before and after.

“I remember walking up to them and greeting my friend when we arrived. The next thing I remember is waking up in complete silence and not really seeing anything. I remember seeing figures running towards me and then wondering if I was okay. At one point someone took me aside and then I remember asking why you ask me if I was okay. Then I started to feel pain … it felt like my hand fell off. “

“Then I heard the word ‘pigua’ [terror attack] but he was really confused and didn’t understand what had happened, even though he knew something had happened. Only in the ambulance did I understand that it was an attack and that people had died ”.

“If the terrorist hadn’t been shot, we could have been next,” S.

Four soldiers, Lieutenant Yael Yekutiel (20) from Givatayim, Cadet Shir Hajaj (22) from Maaleh Adumim, Cadet Shira Tzur (20) from Haifa and Cadet Erez Orbach (20) from Alon Shvut, were killed in the vehicular attack. .

“That incident was a great event that really had a lot of consequences in my life,” S. recalled. “I was looking for what I wanted to do in life and I understand that sometimes life just happens.”

Before the attack, he said, “most of the people in my life did not know that I had joined the army. It was crazy enough being an officer course at 26, and then getting wounded by a terrorist … it was kind of a symbol for me. That I got to where I was for a reason and that I’m on the right track in life and destined to be in the military. The attack strengthened me to continue on my way ”.

S. said The charge who in the last year and a half suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, something he had not experienced before.

“I woke up one January day in bed and suddenly I felt like I was falling and I was in terrible pain and I didn’t know what to do, I felt like I shouldn’t be in pain.” On another occasion, S. said he believed he heard gunshots while in the living room of his home in central Israel, only to later realize it was just the street light bulb outside his window flickering.

“This is something that continues with me, it doesn’t happen and it goes away. But I take care of that. I know I had a very hard experience and I continued. Life goes on, even if there are moments you remember. “

Four years after the attack, he still remembers those who were killed and regularly asks himself a question that most survivors ask themselves: Why am I here and they are not?

“I got my rank of Major, and it’s strange, but every time I go to the Yom Hazikaron Cemetery and I see Erez staying in the grave. It could have been someone … it could also have obtained a different rank. “

Due to the terrorist attack and subsequent physical therapy, S. never finished the officer course. But that didn’t stop her. Six years after he first joined the IDF, he has gained several years of experience over enemies on Israel’s northern border during his time in Military Intelligence.

She acknowledges that returning to work helped her continue and “get back to normal.”

“At first, you have to process what happened,” he said of the attack. “People that I had just met and with whom I thought I would have no connection, we became a family.”

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