In a hospital in Ashkelon

May 14, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Under heavy rocket fire, President Reuven Rivlin yesterday visited Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon.

Visiting the various wards of the hospital, the president met casualties from the rocket fire who have been hospitalized in the last few days. “Our heart is with you, and you are in the best possible hands, with medical staff who are doing everything they can,” said the president to the family of an IDF soldier who was injured yesterday by an anti-tank missile. “We are praying together with you and have full faith in the doctors. I am sure you will have good news soon.

The president then spoke with the family of a 90-year-old woman whose house took a direct hit and who is dealing with injuries. “She is a lioness, fighting despite her wonderful age,” the head of the hospital told the president. Her family told him about Soumya Santosh, the caregiver who had looked after their mother and was killed in the attack.

The president also sat with the family of five-year-old Ido Avigal ז”ל, who is by the bed of his mother, Shani, who was gravely injured in the fatal attack on the safe room they were in.

Assaf, Ido’s father, told the president of his concern for his wife, his broken heart at the loss of their son and the terrible pain. The president hugged Assaf and asked him to be strong at this impossible time and promised to be with him in any way needed. “I am here today on my own, as it were, but believe me that the support of the whole people is with you and the thoughts of us all are with you and the pain of your wonderful family. The loss of Ido is inconceivable, dealing with it along with the unconscionable worry for the rest of the family is so difficult. If only we could make it easier for you.”

President Rivlin meets Noah Photo: Mark Neyman

Six-year-old Noah, Ido’s cousin, is in the ICU at the hospital. He was also severely injured. “You will get stronger and grow up, my dear one,” promised the president and spoke with his parents about the moments of horror and the terrible trauma.

The president visited the hospital’s baby nursery, which has been moved to a protected area in recent days. New mother Einav, who came to feed her baby son, told the president about giving birth with sirens constantly going off, and of her anxiety. The president told Einav that, as a child born in Jerusalem under fire, he can assure her that such children grow up just fine and asked her to continue remain cheerful and strong. The president offered his support to the medical teams and thanked them for their outstanding professionalism when working under fire. “Thank you, on behalf of all Israelis. Take care of yourselves,” he implored them.

During his visits to the wards, the people at the hospital’s coffee shop called out to the president and asked him to sit and have a rest. “I really don’t need a rest, but your mayor could really do with a cup of coffee,” and picked up coffees for the mayor and himself and sat down for a conversation about the events of recent days. “Your leadership is confident and palpable,” said the president to mayor Tomer Glam. “You are a hero, running a town of heroes and we all salute you,” he added, and heard from the mayor about how the people of Ashkelon, who have suffered many losses and injuries in this round of fighting, are standing strong.

The president concluded his visit at a meeting with the hospital’s management team in the special situation room that has been in operation during the recent round of fighting. During his whole visit, sirens were sounded all the time and the president called on all those at the hospital to stay in their protected areas.

Mayor of Ashkelon Tomer Glam commented: “We are in the midst of another round of fighting, in which Ashkelon is the most strategic target for the terrorist organizations in Gaza. Facing them, the people of Ashkelon are standing strong, displaying resilience, and giving the IDF, the security forces and the government their backing to act, so that we get out of this battle with the upper hand. I wish a speedy and full recovery to all those injured and ask that people continue to follow the instructions that have been proved to save lives. Together, we will get through this.”

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