Chava Berman Borowsky

Rami Davidian

In the early hours of שבת השחורה there was no police force, no IDF, no fire fighters, and no special forces units. All there was was Rami Davidian with a few of his extended family members who he recruited to work together with him and who is single-handedly responsible for saving more than 750 lives from the Nova Festival. 

At 6:30 AM with the non-stop barrage of rockets Rami receives a call from his friend begging him to go pick up his son from the festival. Rami worked in gas delivery and so he was intimately familiar with every single path and alleyway in the region and that was why his friend called him. His friend gives him the coordination points of his son and without hesitating Rami quickly leaves his house telling his wife he’ll be back in five minutes. He has not the faintest idea of what’s in store for him.

As he’s making his way to the rescue point he sees two bikes thrown to the side of the road and also a few detached fingers. He assumes it’s a car accident and continues on his way. He then sees a few cars on fire and he mindlessly assumes it’s a homicide event among clashing Bedouin tribes because in the previous weeks there were few homicide incidents in the area. 

He reaches the rescue point of his friend’s son and sees that the boy is not alone. There are around fifteen people together with him. He begins to understand that this isn’t an ordinary event but he still has no idea of the scale of what’s going on. He quickly recruits his son-in-laws and cousins to be ready at different intersections to transport the young adults to safer areas from where he will drop them off.

With the successful first rescue and no one else to turn to, Rami’s WhatsApp phone number is spread like wildfire to parents, family members, and evacuees themselves who are all sending him rescue points and describing tattoos and clothing articles. Rami is still a few miles away from the Nova site and he’s able to save those whom the terrorists hadn’t had a chance to murder yet. Every single rescue mission becomes more and more dangerous as he’s nearing the festival site and more and more gunshots are heard all around him.

Rami receives a message from a girl telling him that she’s alone and begging to be saved. She doesn’t have much battery left and she barely manages to send her location. By the time Rami arrives this girl is no longer alone. She’s surrounded by six terrorists. Rami, in what he describes as a divine experience with angels who put words in his mouth, tells the terrorists in fluent Arabic which he speaks as a Kurdish Jew, “I’m Abu Rami. The IDF is just around the corner and this girl will delay you. Bring me the girl, I’ll take her back to Be’eri quicker than you’ll be able to.” The terrorists miraculously hand over the girl whose name is Amit. She’s shaking and crying and Rami desperately wants to calm her down and give her a hug but he must play the character in order to save the girl’s life.

As Rami nears the massacre site he enters more and more fields telling the festival attendees that they should come out of their hiding places. There are still many attendees who are petrified of leaving their hideouts because there have been many terrorists who pretended to be IDF soldiers and thus managed to kill many festival goers. He has the added task of convincing the young people that he isn’t a terrorist.

By the time Rami gets to the site of the festival there are no living bodies to be saved. Almost anyone who took shelter in a migunit or who fled through the streets was killed. Most of the people saved were people who ran for a not insignificant amount of time and hid in the fields. 

The miguniot that are supposed to provide shelter from rocket attacks and not from live terrorists proved to be highly efficient death traps. Rami sees rivers of blood running out from the miguniot. Inside the miguniot he sees bodies with matching tattoo descriptions of what he’s been sent on some of the 4,0000 Whatsapp messages that he’s received. He doesn’t have the heart to tell the parents that their children have been murdered and so he tells them that it’s a closed IDF area and he isn’t allowed to enter. 

Towards the end of the day Rami asks about his nephew Offir who was also part of Rami’s rescue operation transporting attendees but he doesn’t receive an answer. Only the next day does he hear the tragic news. Offir tells Rami that even though they’ve managed to rescue 750 people, they haven’t succeeded in saving Offir’s own daughter who was murdered at the festival. Even now whenever Rami is rightfully heralded as a hero his eyes well up with tears, “If only I was able to save more children.”

About the Author
Chava Berman Borowsky grew up in Los Angeles, CA in an Orthodox community in the La Brea Fairfax neighborhood. She moved to Israel in 2008 and has since lived in Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh, Holon, and Ashdod. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, painting, and writing.
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