A Jewish family driving through a Palestinian village in the West Bank on Saturday night was pelted with rocks by the residents of the village. But after losing control of their car and flipping over, they were surprised to find that the passersby that came to offer them their help were also Palestinians.
Yedaya Sharchaton, 25, and his wife Hadassah, 24, were traveling with their one-year-old daughter Nitzan from Jerusalem to their home in Yatir, south of Hebron.
Shortly after midnight, while driving through the Palestinian village Beit Umar, Palestinians hurled large rocks at the family's car. One of the rocks, the size of a melon, broke through the windshield and hit Yedaya in the face as he drove. He lost control of the car that veered sideways, hit a safety barrier, flipped over and landed in a ditch on the side of the road.
"We came home from spending Shabbat with Yedaya's parents," Hadassah told Yedioth Ahronot, recounting the moments of horror. "All of a sudden I heard a big boom, and we were hit with a lot of glass shards. The car flipped over. I was screaming like a madwoman until we landed on the roof, and then it became quiet. Nitzan was crying for a while and then she became quiet. I asked Yedeya, 'Are you okay? What about Nitzan?' - but he was confused and wasn't making sense."
While the family was trapped in the car, Hadassah noticed Palestinian passersby walking towards them, and became afraid. But there was no reason to fear. The Palestinians, who noticed she was frightened, calmed her down: "Lady, don't worry. We came to help you," they told her. "I have a baby in the backseat, take her," she told them.
Yedaya, Hadassah and baby Nitzan.
They did as she asked and rescued baby Nitzan out of the car. Hadassah, who is a nurse, guided them on how to free the baby's hands from the safety belt and put her down in a way that would prevent further harm.
"I spoke to Yedaya to keep him awake. More and more Arabs arrived at the scene and asked if we needed help," she said. "One of them held Nitzan, who was pretty pleased about it. I was afraid, but I know how to distinguish between terrorists and human beings, and these were human beings."
An IDF force arrived at the scene and Magen David Adom evacuated Yedaya to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem neighborhood in serious condition. He suffered fractures to his skull, jaw and eye socket, as well as hemorrhaging in his brain. At the hospital, Yedaya was put on a respirator and anesthetized. The doctors waited to see what damage was caused to his brain, and knew that no matter what, he would undergo a long and hard process of rehabilitation.
Hadassah sat by her wounded husband's bed on Sunday, concern evident on her face, listening to the beeping of the life support machines.
Yedaya woke up for a few moments, recognized his wife and wrote on a note: "What about your job? What about the shopping?"
Yedaya's father also arrived at the hospital. "This was an attempted murder, and a miracle happened here," he said.