Avital Bareli, twelve years old, of Sderot
Enough! I’m fed up! I’m going to call my father”, shouted Ahieh.
He was angry. He had already had to live in the Motzkin area of Sderot for four years, and every time he went to play in the field, he and Or fought over who grabbed it first.
It all began one sunny afternoon when Or went down to the field and began to play soccer with his school friends. Half an hour later, Ahieh rode his bicycle down to that field and wanted to and wanted to ride on the grass. As soon as he had arrived, Or shouted at him from a distance, “Hey you, we came first to this field, so you can’t have it, you religious freak!”
Ahieh, angry, shouted back, “Your father did not build this field,, so I have just as much right to be here as you do.”
“Really!, asked Or in mock surprise.
“Yes, really!”, echoed Ahieh earnestly. And so they fought back and forth until Ahieh ran to call his father, Shlomo, and Or, seeing this, turned to Nir, his own father.
And now, while we wait for the two fathers to arrive, here is a shortened version of the history of these two families, those of OR Biton and Ahieh Idels, who lived in that neighborhood together.
The Biton family were a small, Oriental family, but the Eidels were a big family of European roots. There had never been particularly warm, neighborly relations between this set of neighbors. Their conversation rarely went beyond “hello”.
And then their fathers came walking down the stairs to the field grumbling that they always had to make peace between their sons, instead of resting peacefully.
The two fathers stared uncomfortably at each other, not knowing what to say or do. Shlomo broke the silence by saying that the best way to end this constant fighting might be to divide the field in half, with each boy to receive his half to play on. His son was about to object, but his father signaled him to be quiet. In the end, the boy said it was an excellent idea.
And so the field was divided, but the two boys continued to fight in spite of this compromise.
About a week later, as the lads played silently each in his own half of the field, the alarm sounded, announcing that a rocket was on its way to Sderot, and that they had about fifteen seconds to take cover. Both boys had the same thought simultaneously: they were too far from home to run back there to the shelter. The nearest safe place they could find was one of the smaller shelters that stand at most bus stops in their town. The nearest shelter to their divided field was across the street. Without exchanging a word, the two ran together across the street to be in that shelter.
Or crossed the street first, but from the corner of his eye he was able to see a car speeding along, and Ahieh flying through the air when the car hit him. Or watched Ahieh fall to the ground. Ahieh was covered with blood.
Or had always been the picky type who could not stand the sight of blood. He hesitated for a few moments as the seconds ticked off before the rocket fell. Should he run to save himself in the shelter from a rocket that might explode on top of him, or should he run to help Ahieh?
Or ran to Ahieh.
He saw his entire leg was drenched in blood, and that Ahieh was seriously hurt. Or took off his own shirt and made a tourniquet to stop the blood Ahieh was losing. Or tried to drag Ahieh to the shelter, but he was too heavy for Or to move.
Or looked at the driver who had hit Ahieh. The man seemed to be in a state of absolute shock as he looked at the child his car had just struck.
Or ran to him and said, “Sir, the boy is bleeding very heavily. He has already lost consciousness, and his blood still flows. Please help me carry him to the shade and to call an ambulance.” The rocket exploded as he spoke to the driver, but this time Or forgot to wonder from whence came the loud boom as he did every other time a rocket landed in his town. He could think only or Ahieh.
The driver suddenly understood that he must do something. He helped carried Ahieh into his car and drove him to a hospital, where he remained with the injured child. Or ran to the Eidels home to tell Ahieh’s family what had happened, and to which hospital their son had been taken.
Ahieh’s parents took time only to thank Or, to leave instructions to their other children, and to jump in the car to go to their son’s hospital.
Three hours later it had become apparent that Ahieh’s life was no longer in danger, but that he would have to do physical therapy for a long time in order for all his functions to recover. Ahieh’s life however had been saved – thanks to the bravery and self-sacrifice of Or.
When the Eidels family returned from the hospital, they went immediately to their neighbors to thank them for what their son had done to save Ahieh.
After a few days, it was possible for Or to visit Ahieh in his hospital room. Ahieh tearfully thanked him for what he had done to save his life.
Today, if you go to the Motzkin neighborhood of Sderot, you will see two very different children who are very good friends.