When Hamas unleashed its assault on hundreds of Jews attending a music competition in southern Israel earlier this month, an Israeli Arab paramedic insisted on staying on the scene to attempt to save lives.
Ultimately, he gave his personal.
Awad Darawshe was 23, single, good-looking — however he wasn’t on the Tribe of Nova competition to bounce. He labored for Yossi Ambulances and was amongst a workforce of paramedics assigned to work the competition in a tent on the location’s periphery.
He was killed when Hamas militants slipped undetected into Israel from the Gaza Strip and butchered their manner by the competition crowd and into close by villages, settlements and kibbutzim.
Shortly after daybreak on Oct. 7, rockets pierced the skies. Grenades went off. Gunfire ricocheted all over the place. Injured, bleeding revelers raced to the paramedics’ station. However the chaos rapidly escalated. Because the scope of the Hamas assault turned clear, the station’s chief ordered the paramedics to evacuate.
Darawshe refused to depart. He was shot to loss of life whereas bandaging one of many injured.
Days later, after his physique was recognized, the surviving paramedics informed Darawshe’s household why he had chosen to remain. He felt that, as an Arab, he may in some way mediate with the attackers.
“He stated, ‘No, I’m not leaving. I converse Arabic, I believe I can handle,’” stated his cousin, Mohammad Darawshe, who spoke to The Related Press by phone from his dwelling in northern Israel.
That fateful determination has left the Darawshe household reeling with sorrow, their solely consolation the bravery of Awad’s actions.
“He introduced us a variety of ache, he introduced us a variety of agony, he introduced us a variety of sorrow,” his cousin stated. “However he additionally introduced us a variety of satisfaction — as a result of he selected to stick with his mission till the final second.”
A funeral was held Friday in Iksal, a small Arab-majority village about 3 miles (5 kilometers) southeast of Nazareth. A number of thousand mourners attended.
The Darawshe household has lived in Iksal for generations. They’re a part of Israel’s Palestinian Arab minority that makes up about 20% of the inhabitants. They’re the descendants of Palestinians who stayed within the nation after the 1948 battle surrounding Israel’s creation. Not like Palestinians residing within the occupied West Financial institution and Gaza, they’re full residents of Israel, however they face widespread discrimination. Tensions between them and Jewish Israelis flare repeatedly, significantly in instances of battle.
The competition assault left at the least 260 Israelis useless and an undetermined quantity have been taken hostage. In Saturday’s brutal assault by Hamas, greater than 1,300 Israelis have been killed altogether, the worst bloodbath within the nation’s historical past. Israel declared battle on Hamas the next day. As of Sunday, the battle has additionally left greater than 2,300 Palestinians useless and the Center East on the precipice of a wider conflagration.
Darawshe’s loss of life was confirmed by the Israeli Overseas Ministry in social media posts, which stated Hamas not solely killed Darawshe however stole his ambulance and drove it to Gaza.
“A hero,” the Overseas Ministry stated of Darawshe. “Could his reminiscence be a blessing.”
Mohammad Darawshe is the director of technique on the Givat Haviva Heart for Shared Society, a corporation that works to bridge the hole between Israel’s Jewish and Arab residents — the ethos of the Darawshe household for which Awad made the last word sacrifice.
“We’re very pleased with his actions,” Mohammad Darawshe stated. “That is what we might count on from him and what we count on from everybody in our household — to be human, to remain human and to die human.”
Sampson reported from Atlanta.