Friday, May 4, 2007

Children on the Front Lines: A Terror Victim's Story

There is no doubt that God loves the Jewish people and is working miracles to protect them!

by David Rubin

The Land of Israel is increasingly under attack from the nations of the world, led by the Muslim nations that openly question the inheritance that G-d gave to His People. This has manifested itself in the bus bombings and shootings on the roads. The Jewish residents of Samaria, where Shiloh is located, have suffered a disproportionate amount of terror attacks. After a year and a half of increasing terror attacks, the shootings on the roads finally hit home for my family in a very personal way about three and a half years ago on the last night of Chanukah.

My three-year-old son and I were returning home to Shiloh after a day's outing in Jerusalem, when suddenly there was a hail of bullets on the car. The car engine went dead, as did the car radio. I saw the bullets zooming past me. They had tracers on them, so the bullets appeared like sparks two inches in front of my eyes. Then I felt a terrible pain in my left leg and the blood started gushing out like an open fire hydrant. At that point, I remembered that I had my toddler sitting in back of me in the baby seat.

His name is Reuven, but we call him Ruby. I asked him, "Ruby, are you okay?" He just stared straight ahead. His eyes were wide open, his mouth was wide open, but no words were coming out. I didn't see any blood, so I assumed that he was in shock. I frantically tried to start the ignition with little success, shifting gears from drive to park to neutral, and they were still shooting! Finally, on the fourth or fifth attempt, the car started, and it started smoothly, as if there had never been a problem.

I drove 120 miles an hour to reach the next community, called Ofra. As I was driving, my leg was pounding as the blood flowed out. I reached Ofra in two and a half minutes (normally a five minute drive), opened the car door as I reached the security gate, and started shouting for an ambulance. The security guard at the gate didn't respond, so a young woman sitting on the side of the road started jumping up and down, shouting," Ambulance! Ambulance! Don't you hear?" At that moment, everyone who was within sounds reach came running over, one of whom was the gas station attendant, who said, "I'm also a medic", and immediately ripped off my shirt and wrapped up my leg to try to stop the blood flow. He gave me his cell phone, and said, "Here, call your wife", but my hand was shaking so much that I couldn't dial. He dialed the number for me and handed me the phone. I told my wife," I've been shot in the leg, they'll be taking me to the hospital when the ambulance comes, and Ruby is okay." Just then, the ambulance arrived. A medic from the ambulance ran to the car and started to take my son out of the car, shouting to the ambulance, "He's also been shot. He's been shot in the neck!" I later found out that a bullet had gone into the place where the skull meets with the neck, causing a skull fracture and internal bleeding in his cerebellum, the back part of the brain.

For several weeks after, I was taken in my wheelchair once a day to visit Ruby in the intensive care unit of the children's ward, which was in an adjacent building. He was sleeping most of the day and couldn't even lift himself up in bed. He had almost total memory loss, not even remembering his siblings or friends. After he returned home several weeks later, he would wake up screaming at night, and at those painful moments.

Looking back, I think the most important thing is to examine what I have learned from the experience. The morning after the attack, the rabbi of Shiloh, Rabbi Elchanan Bin-Nun, in the hospital to visit us, said, "David, I'm sure that you've started counting miracles." The truth is, that I hadn't. When I started to think about it, it was overwhelming. First of all, I was shot in my left leg, even though they were shooting from the right side, which enabled me to drive my automatic car to get away from the bullets and reach the ambulance. Secondly, the head of the intensive care unit of the children's ward told us, "You don't know how blessed you are, because if that bullet had gone just one millimeter deeper into your son's neck, it would have hit his brain stem, and he would have been dead on the spot."

Those were just two of the miracles we call hidden miracles, those that can be explained in human terms. However, there are also revealed miracles, those so obvious that we can't logically explain them away in human terms.

On my fifth or sixth day in the hospital, I got a phone call: "Hi David, this is the car mechanic. I just want you to know that we have the car. There are holes all over the car and we've already started ordering parts and..." At that point, I cut him off, saying "I don't care about the car. My son has lost his memory and can't even sit up in bed, and you're calling me about the car?" To this he responded, "There really is just one reason why I'm calling you at this time. We don't understand why we can't start the car."

When he said these words, a chill went down my back. I knew that the car engine went dead after the bullets hit, and I tried to start the car four or five times shifting gears while they were still shooting, until the car finally started without any hesitation and I drove that car 120 miles an hour to get away from the bullets and to get to an ambulance. And now the mechanic is telling me that he doesn't understand why he can't start the car.

After almost twenty years as a believer in the G-d of Israel, I was suddenly confronted with a revealed miracle that occured on that fateful night in front of my eyes. We were carried on the wings of the L-rd to get us to that ambulance! I have always been a bit of a skeptic about personal miracle stories, but no longer. I thank G-d every day for giving me the opportunity to experience His goodness.

Like others who have gone through traumas, I've felt irrational guilt and have asked myself the question of why we survived the attack, when so many others haven't been so fortunate. Just taking a brief walk in my neighborhood in Shiloh, we come to the house of the Yerushalmi family, whose 17-year-old son Shmuel was killed in a bus bombing. Several houses down the block lived Shmuel's friend, 17-year-old Avi Citon, murdered by terrorists who killed Avi and several other boys who were playing on their high school basketball court. On that same street is the Kessler family, whose 19-year-old granddaughter Sara Gila was also killed in a bus bombing. Just around the corner is the Shoham family, whose five-month-old baby Yehudah was killed by a rock thrown at his head as he and his parents were coming back from a visit to his grandparent's house.

These are only a few examples of the many children of Shiloh who have been killed or wounded by the Muslim terrorism that we are all facing. After seeing all this suffering, and after several operations, many doctors' visits, and months of psychological therapy for my son, I decided that I had to do something for the children of Shiloh, who have suffered so much. There is not one child in Shiloh who does not have a parent or a sibling or a friend or a teacher who has been killed or wounded in a terror attack, and they have ALL been traumatized to varying degrees. I decided to start the Shiloh Israel Children's Fund to support educational, recreational, and therapeutic projects for the children of the Shiloh and its surrounding communities.

This is my way of thanking G-d for saving my son's life, by trying to restore a healthy and happy childhood for the children. It is also my response to the terrorists, whose hope was certainly to scare us away from the Biblical heartland. My response is that we are going to stay and grow and build for the next generation! I invite all friends of Israel who identify with that vision to work with us, in building a brighter future for the brave Children of Israel who are on the front lines of the struggle for G-d's Land.

David Rubin is a former mayor and longtime resident of Shiloh, and the founder of the Shiloh Israel Children's Fund. He can reached at or at

The Jerusalem Connection’s Operation Life for Israel, receives tax deductible funds and directs them to The Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, and other groups who deal with the victims of terror as well as pro-life concerns in Israel

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