The massacre that occurred in Jerusalem on Friday night after Khaire Alkam, 21, opened fire on a synagogue and killed seven also left a number of civilians injured. One of the people on the front lines providing life-saving medical treatment was veteran Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic Fadi Dekidek.
Dekidek hails from the Beit Hanina neighborhood in east Jerusalem. His family is originally from Turkey, and his first name means “redeemer.”
During his nearly two decades in an MDA uniform, Dekidek has seen “many terror attacks," he told The Jerusalem Post. "I was in danger. I made sure that the others in the ambulance were safe and rushed into the synagogue and nearby buildings to see if there were more wounded or dead, but there were none," he said.
"I checked the pulse of the victims. All the wounded were in the street, and there were those who died on the spot or in the hospitals [Shaare Zedek Medical Center] and Hadassah on Mount Scopus. I was only a few hundred meters from there in my MDA ambulance.
“I wasn’t able to sleep on Friday night after it was over, but I hope to sleep tonight.” He added that he hasn’t yet been able to visit the wounded people he saved, but said he hopes to do so.
Education is the way forward
"The difference between a culture that glorifies terror and one that works hard to heal is education," the MDA paramedic told the Post.
Arabs living in east Jerusalem, depending on where their home is located, will receive either an Israeli education, pursuant to the Education Ministry or the municipal curriculum – while others study in Palestinian Authority schools with a Jordanian curriculum, he explained.
Dekidek regularly teaches east Jerusalem teenagers how to give first aid and resuscitate. “There are some 80 young volunteers already, and some 250 Arabs who have learned it as well and save lives with MDA,” he said.
“I’m sure you and the public all know that MDA is in a state of its own for co-existence. Jews save Arabs. Arabs save Jews. I think it’s an example for the whole world,” he added.
Dekidek is married and the father of three boys and a girl, all between the ages of three to 13. He added that he is aware of the ongoing danger he faces in his work. “My wife is afraid because of it, but she and our children are proud of me. My kids will be the future generation of MDA lifesavers,” he said.