Jerusalem invaded by APCs…to save lives

In a place which sees snow once a year, usually a dusting or at most a few inches – complete havoc rained down…or should I say snowed down on Jerusalem over the last three days…in some areas, up to a meter.

On Friday, Davidi volunteered for the local ambulance squad. When he came home, I asked if they’d gone into Jerusalem – they tried, but as they were attempting to drive up a hill into an Arab neighborhood, the ambulance couldn’t handle the steep incline and was sliding down to the bottom. They radioed in that they couldn’t make it up the hill, even with the chains they had stopped to put on the tires.

They were ordered back to Maale Adumim where thankfully, it was quiet and he made it back before Shabbat. In the hour or so before candlelighting, he walked around the house with his phone in his hand. He was itching to go into Jerusalem to volunteer there and I was adamant that unless he had a way to go in – which meant a four-wheel drive car and driver, he wasn’t going.

“MADA [Magen David Adom – the equivalent of the Israel Red Cross/ambulance services] are collapsing,” he told me in a voice that showed some surprise. “They’ve been on for more than 24 hours and they can’t get anyone in to relieve them.”

“They’re asking for volunteers, medics, anyone with a four-wheel drive because they can’t use most of the ambulances.”

“There are 25 calls waiting; 5 of them for the intensive care ambulances…they can’t get to them.”

And on it went. I spoke to Elie for a few minutes, “they can fly all over the world, why aren’t they sending in Pikud HaOref” – the highly trained search and rescue units that have been working in other areas to save Israeli endangered by the massive storm that was pounding Israel and neighboring countries.

“They’re in there,” Davidi answered.

By accident and perhaps divine intervention, I made a mistake and made 4 kilo of challah, the sweet bread we eat on Shabbat and so I offered the extra to friends and neighbors because deliveries were limited because most is brought out of Jerusalem in the early Friday morning hours…except this week.

We started the Sabbath hoping to retain power – and we were very lucky that we did. After Shabbat ended – Davidi told me, “they brought nagmashim into Jerusalem.

Many years ago, Elie was trained to drive a nagmash. As he rose to be a commander, he became responsible for directing the nagmashim as the drivers managed the vehicles…I doubt he’s ever driven one through a city. I was hoping to find a video – and here is one…yes, for the first time that I know of since 1967, armored personnel carriers are in the streets of Jerusalem.

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