One of the coordinators of The Fellowship’s With Dignity and Fellowship program – which provides medicine, food, and companionship to Israel’s impoverished elderly – was responsible for saving the life of Naor, a 13-year-old boy who was stabbed while riding his bicycle in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood on October 12. Here Janci recounts the harrowing event.
It was about 3:00 p.m. when I left my office in Pisgat Ze'ev to get something to eat. I walked over to the commercial center and started talking with the owner of the toy store where I always buy toys for my kids. Suddenly, a boy ran over to us shouting, "Call the police! Call the police!" I asked what had happened, and he said, "They stabbed me." I also saw that he was grasping his armpit. It took me a couple of seconds to comprehend the words, "They stabbed me." It's not something you hear every day. Then I understood. We're in a period of stabbings and shootings.
I held him on one side and the toy store owner held him on the other side. I was on the side on which he had been stabbed, so I saw that he was really bleeding. The first thing I did was call the police to tell them there was a stabbing. They asked me where we were and I drew a blank. I didn't remember the name of the street. I screamed out, "What's the address here?!" The owner of the store told me and the police said, "We're on our way."
I saw that the boy was bleeding a lot. There was a rag on the floor by the entrance to the store. I picked it up and tied it as tightly as I could around his armpit in the place it seemed to be bleeding. We also realized that he wasn't able to stand on his own. His legs started buckling and his head was falling back. Someone else came out of the store and the three of us laid him down on the ground. As he was lying down I heard shots, and I understood that they had shot the terrorist.
I started shouting, "Does anyone know his name?!" Someone said, "Naor." I stroked his chin and said, "Naor, open your eyes," because it looked as if he was dying. It didn't seem as if he was breathing. This really frightened me. I told the store owner to bring water. I started rinsing his face and telling him to talk to me, to open his eyes and look at me, but he wasn't responding and I noticed that his eyes were rolled back. I checked to see if his heart was still beating. Thankfully, it was. Then I looked at my hands and how much they were trembling.
The police came shortly afterwards, and then an ambulance came and evacuated Naor. I then sat on a chair and began to register what had happened. A lot of policemen on motorcycles came and started shouting, “Don't move! Don't move! There's another terrorist." The terrorist who stabbed Naor had fled the scene. The police shot the second one who had stabbed someone else a short while before.
Then I started to break down. I really started crying and trembling. I needed to pick up my children from kindergarten. I called my husband and told him to pick up our daughter, and I went to get our son. I have no idea how I made it there. My whole body was trembling. When I got to the nursery, they asked, "What happened to you? You're covered in blood." I hadn't noticed it. My hands and legs were covered in blood. The kindergarten teacher told her assistant to take my son away so he wouldn't see me. She took me to the sink and started cleaning me up. I suddenly felt as if I couldn't stand because I saw the blood coming off of my hands.
I was very afraid that Naor would die. When I had been holding him in my hands, I thought he would die. I was out of it the entire rest of the day. I just cried and shivered. My whole body hurt. It's amazing how the body reacts. My feet, stomach, and head hurt.
That evening a paramedic called and told me Naor was ok. He was in the operating room but everything was under control. The paramedic told me that the rag I had wrapped him with saved his life. The artery that was cut was a main artery and a person can die within six minutes if the bleeding isn't stopped. He told me that I gave him an extra minute. I don't know if I saved his life or not, I'm just happy he's alive.
All I did was cry and shiver for the next several days. But I received so much love. From my family, friends, and colleagues at work. It was empowering. The best part of the story is that last week Naor was released from the hospital. The Fellowship will be giving him one of our $1,000 grants to assist terror victims with medical expenses. Their financial situation isn't good, so this will really help.
Somehow, I was unnaturally focused in that moment when Naor was in my arms. Nobody should ever be in that position, but at a certain level it makes me happy to know that my body reacted the way it did and I didn't fall apart.
Although Janci doesn't see herself as a hero, her actions prove otherwise. We are so proud and grateful for her lifesaving work!