Brazilian immigrant awarded prize for foiling stabbing in West Bank

Cpl. Marcelo Perez thwarted a terror attack at Gush Etzion junction in mid-October.

December 16, 2017 19:55
2 minute read.
Corporal Marcelo Perez wins an award for thwarting a terror attack at Gush Etzion junction.

Corporal Marcelo Perez wins an award for thwarting a terror attack at Gush Etzion junction.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

Less than three months after Cpl. Marcelo Perez thwarted a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, the Brazilian immigrant has received an award.

Peretz was awarded the prize on Tuesday by Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir, the head of the Southern Command, at Kibbutz Magen, near the Gaza Strip.

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Having made aliya from Sao Paulo, Brazil, at age 25, Peretz wasn’t obligated to enlist, “but it was important for me to join the army,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “I always thought about moving to Israel, and when my mother passed away four years ago I said to myself now is the time.”

Serving in the Nahal Brigade’s Battalion 50 in the Etzion area of the West Bank, Peretz never thought he would see the day that he would have to use his weapon.

“It was around 12 o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve done many guard shifts at this junction, but all of a sudden I saw someone who looked suspicious,” Peretz told the Post. “He was heading toward me by foot on the street. It was strange.

It was a hot day, it was in the afternoon, and there he was wearing a heavy black coat with his hands in his pockets,” Peretz continued, adding that he informed his commanders that there was a suspicious individual approaching.

According to Peretz, he repeatedly called on the man – who was less than 50 meters away – to stop, shouting at him in Arabic, but “he didn’t want to stop, and the moment I cocked my weapon he looked at me and started running toward me with a knife in his hand.”

Peretz then shot the 22-year-old Palestinian, neutralizing him with one bullet.

“I did exactly what I had to. It’s not something I wanted to do, but I was ready to do it,” he said.

According to Peretz, the chances for more attacks has increased following US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem.

“For the six hours that I am on guard duty, I am always thinking when the next attack could happen. I am waiting for one,” Peretz said. “Despite that 99% of the time there is nothing that is going to happen, there is always the possibility that there is someone out there who wants to run me over, or kill me or another Israeli, a civilian.”

“The moment something happens, I am ready to react. The army is ready,” he said.

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