Initiated by the Histadrut: Appreciation for Muslims who saved Jews on October 7th/PR
October 7 will be remembered as one of the most damned days in the history of the State of Israel, but also as the day when heroes and heroic deeds were discovered that will be told for many more years. Black Sabbath caused great upheaval in the State of Israel and great fear of a rift between Jews and Muslims living side by side in Israel.
As the days passed, these fears dissipated, and at the same time hair-raising stories of heroism emerged about Muslims who saved hundreds of Jews.
Jamal Varaki, a United Hatzalah volunteer, was the first to arrive at the battle zone in Kibbutz Reim and immediately understood that this was a large-scale terrorist incident. Under heavy fire, he rescued over a hundred wounded people from the party area, risking his life. This week he received the Jewish-Arab Institute for Coexistence Award. "I was the first of the rescue forces to enter the area," Varaki said, adding: "I saw dozens of wounded lying down, I decided to take as much as possible and rescue. I estimate that I rescued over 100 people, this is my mission and I didn't think for a moment otherwise."
Yusef al-Ziadne is a shuttle driver from Rahat. On Friday evening, a group of young people from the community of Omer drove them to a party in Re'im and arranged to pick them back up when Shabbat ended. On Saturday morning he woke up to the sound of sirens and alerts, the phone did not stop ringing, on the line was one of the young men who begged for his life and asked Yosef to come and save him and his friends. Yosef did not think twice and flew to the party area, where on the way he discovered the extent of the horror - dozens of bodies lying on the side of the road alongside sooty vehicles. Yosef chose to continue saving the young people. Under heavy fire, and terrorists shooting at him, he reached the heart of the party, gathered the youths and flew away.
At this point, he realized that the junctions and main roads were infested with terrorists and decided to start driving towards the fields, which he knew well. On the way, he gathered many more young people, about 30 in number, and also directed many vehicles of people to follow him to Kibbutz Tze'elim, thereby saving dozens of people and returning them alive to safety. "I had quite a few opportunities to give up and return to my family, but I decided to save lives. We are all human beings, Muslims, Jews, I don't think I'm a hero, I did what was necessary."
Yusef, by the way, has received threats in recent days from Hamas members in Gaza who have heard about his heroic stories.
They knew the Al-Karnuai family from Rahat well in Bari, they operated the dining room and connected with the local people. On Saturday
morning, Yasser al-Karnawi, director of the kibbutz's dining room, was there with his brother Mahmoud and his cousins Hisham and Wassim.
At a certain point, when the shooting began in the kibbutz, they decided to leave the dining room and drove outside the kibbutz gate, at which point they noticed a car with bodies and realized that terrorists were infiltrating, Mahmoud and Wasim, stopped their car, made a decision and risked their lives, stood by the side of the road, and anyone who approached the kibbutz area by car or walk, they signaled him to flee, saving dozens of people who came from the party and the kibbutz residents. At one point, the family even rescued Aya Meidan, a kibbutz member who had gone cycling and returned home when the attack began. For many hours they made sure to hide it until the security forces arrived.
When the stories were exposed, the Jewish-Arab Institute of the Histadrut, headed by Arnon Bar-David and his replacement, Roy Yaakov, decided to pay tribute and honor to Muslims who risked their lives to save lives. All the heroes received an award of appreciation and a certificate this week that read: "In complex times, in difficult times, moral people are revealed. At real risk to life, you chose to save lives. People like you are our strength and spirit to continue striving for a life together."
The person who presented the certificates of appreciation was the Director General of the Jewish-Arab Institute, Shadi Qabalan, who concluded: "Whoever saves one life, as if he saved an entire world. With courage and heroism, these people saved lives and entire families. They are proof that we can live here together."
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