Eli Beer 311.
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
“It reminds you of everything that happened,” said United Hatzalah director Eli
Beer as he looked around at the scene of Wednesday’s terrorist attack, which
killed one person and wounded 39.
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“When I smelled that smell of burnt
meat… I wasn’t ready for it. It was quiet for so long, I just wasn’t ready for
it… The smell is still in my nose from the other terrorist
Beer, who oversees the volunteer emergency first responder
organization, was outside of the United Hatzalah offices
less than a kilometer
away when he heard the explosion.
“When I heard it I was sure there would
be dozens of people killed,” he said.
Beer was on the scene within a
minute of the explosion.
“I didn’t see smoke, there wasn’t smoke like
we’re used to, but there was that terrible smell of fire and burnt
It reminded me of the terrible days at the height the terrorist
Still, Beer said they were “lucky” the attack took place at the
city entrance, where the wide roads gave emergency vehicles plenty of space to
Dozens of ambulances, police vehicles, fire trucks, and other
emergency personal were on the scene within 10 minutes. The wounded were
immediately evacuated to hospitals across Jerusalem.
“I worked on the
elderly woman [who later died], I tried to give her CPR, but she wasn’t
breathing. She was really wounded severely.
“I thought to myself that she
probably won’t survive. I shouted to the paramedics to help me, but they were
helping another person who was seriously wounded,” he said.
noted that while this attack was smaller than the bus bombings during the second
intifada, the long period between them had lulled Israelis, even emergency
workers, into a false sense of security.
“People are sleeping now,” he
The terror attack also brought back the bittersweet sense of
fraternity among emergency workers that was also prevalent during the second
“I saw many people who had responded to other terrorist
attacks, there was one man I saw that I realized I hadn’t seen since the
terrorist attack in Ben Yehuda [in 2001, which killed 11 and wounded 188],” he
“The nation of Israel suddenly comes together in situations like
this and everyone wants to help everyone else.”
United Hatzalah had
planned a large exercise for their volunteers on Wednesday, which was cancelled
after the bombing. Over 80 Hatzalah volunteers responded to the attack, and more
were turned away after it was determined that the bombing caused fewer
casualties than originally thought.