Just a few hours after the Armon Hanatziv terrorist attack where 4 young IDF soldiers lost their lives sanctifying G-d’s name, a “ZAKA” volunteer puts his pain down on paper. Zaka stands for “Zihui Korbanot Ason”, identifying the victims of tragedy.
“Today’s terror attack got to me in a way that no other cruel terrorist attack ever did,” the volunteer writes in tears. “Not the 4 Jews wrapped in a Tallis and tefillin that were killed in Har Nof and not the shooting attack in Damascus Gate where a Border Patrol police woman was killed and not any of the tens of terrorist attacks that relentlessly hit us to the point that they are routine with all the dead and wounded.”
The bottom line is that we ZAKA volunteers can handle grim and gory things that we see. Unfortunately, we are used to the difficult task of taking care of the dead and the wounded. We absorb deep into us the bereavement and the pain, we internalize the tragedy that brought us here to the site of the attack, we feel the insane horror around us, and we live doing the kindness of taking care of the murdered victims.”
“It’s already 3 years that we find ourselves in the midst of countless terror attacks sometime more, sometimes less but the bottom line is our area is on fire! Blood is spilled; people are getting stabbed and run over in every part of Israel’s capitol city, Jerusalem. Another man killed another woman murdered another corpse and puddles of blood.
“The head already understands that this is our routine, these are our lives. Reality explodes anew in our face in every attack, and brings with it the bitter and tragic news of more dead and wounded. We will always be there to save who we can and treat the remains of the victims with respect.”
“I never wrote a post where I vent my feelings or share them with the virtual network. But this attack in Armon Hanatziv was different.” The attack found me at a business meeting in a Bayit Vegan office. I get the report on my MIRS cellular walkie talkie and hear the dispatcher calling for volunteers. Then 30 seconds later I hear the dispatcher shout a few times (in Hebrew) ‘aran aran aran’ an acronym for “multiple casualty event” in Armon Hanatziv.”
“I grab my helmet and coat, jump on my motorcycle and head out, flying to the scene of the bloody attack for the “who knows how many” time; who’s counting anymore! I arrive as the last of the wounded are being evacuated. I help an ambulance driver load someone with a broken leg crying hysterically on his ambulance. There no more wounded, the chaos is finished; emergency crews are leaving and now only the silence of death remains.”
“On the green grass and vegetation and under a golden winter sun, holy blood is soaked into the cold earth, between the tires of the scary and murderous truck. Four youngsters were cut down in an instant. Four more destroyed families. Four more holy and pure martyrs; four complete worlds that stopped as if a switch was turned off.”
“I scan the area and prepare a work strategy for our holy work of respecting the remains of the dead. I go between the backpacks, medical equipment that was meant to save lives, perhaps of other victims; I go between the personal effects of the victims and we break up into teams and begin our holy work”.
“I went with a friend to take care of one of the victims and we were totally unprepared for what happened next. We were helping the forensic officer and an IDF representative identify the corpse of the female officer when we hear the cell phone of the dead officer ring. “Abba is calling, Abba is calling, Abba is calling” and the four of us are frozen. Four experienced volunteers, hardened by many terrorist attacks: we cease to function!”
The volunteer concludes his post with hot tears:
“You pure and holy martyr; you went to heaven and your father is calling the whole time, he doesn’t yet know that your Father in Heaven already received you in His arms with an embrace and love. You died sanctifying G-d’s name. Your memory should be blessed.”