He stepped into the terrorist's path

Bat Ayin resident describes how he saw young boy running before he stepped in and disarmed terrorist.

avinoam maimon 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
avinoam maimon 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Avinoam Maimon made what should have been a quick trip to Bat Ayin's local council office to pay a bill. He ended up fighting for his life. Still shaken by his experience, but appearing otherwise calm, the tall, bearded skullcap wearing redhead, a father of eight, shared his story with reporters later that afternoon, as police continued to search for the ax terrorist. He had left his eight-year old son in the car and walked up the short flight of stairs, across the small brick plaza and into the entryway of the one-story stone structure. He tried to open the door, but found it locked. Disappointed that his errand had failed, he turned around and walked out of the entryway. At that moment, yelling "Save me! Save me!" Yair Gamliel, seven, ran right by Maimon. His head and body were covered with blood. To Maimon's left, racing after the small boy, was a short man with an ax. "It took me several seconds to understand what was going on," Maimon said, as he stood with his arms folded across an untucked flannel shirt. Although he has never considered himself a particularly strong man, Maimon stepped into the terrorist's path. "I grabbed his hand, we struggled, and I yelled for people to call for help and the police," he recalled. The two men fought. As Maimon spoke to reporters, he held up his hands and moved them, as if he was in a deadlock hold with another person, to show how closely they had struggled. At one point the terrorist tried to hit him with the ax but missed. Then Maimon was knocked to the ground but regained his footing. "I was fighting for my life," he said. Somehow, he was able to wrest the ax from the man. Once Maimon was armed, the terrorist showed fear and fled. "I imagine he thought I would kill him," Maimon said. The attacker uttered some words, but Maimon did not understand. Startled to realize that he had survived, he yelled out to a man he saw out of the corner of his eye: "Run after him." The man did. "After a few seconds I heard shots." Maimon said he himself "collapsed. I simply sat on the ground. My strength was gone. I thought I should run after him and then I saw that others were." Once he understood the terrorist was gone and that he was safe, he went to check on his son, who had remained in the car but had seen the whole incident. "He was hysterical," Maimon said. Then he called his wife, to tell her that he had been attacked but was fine. "I was just scrapped slightly," Maimon said as he held up his hand to show a small cut. Maimon, who has lived in the Bat Ayin for 17 years, said the attack had not shaken the sense of security with which he lives his life in the small hilltop community. "I will continue to feel safe here," he said. To his left, a small boy with a white shirt and large green and blue knitted kippa played in a small patch of sand. What needs to happen now, Maimon said, "is to pray for the boy who was wounded."