Living deep in the Shomron (Samaria), requires that I travel through a number of Arab villages to get to any point of civilization outside of my small community. This evening’s journey took me through the Samarian Arab village Funduq, located between the Israeli settlements Karnei Shomron and Kedumim. Funduq is a small town which generally takes less than a minute to drive through. The road is lined with homes, a mosque and small shops, some of which even cater to the settlers who pass through.
My travel partner was my three year-old son, who was returning with me from a medical appointment in Kfar Saba. As I entered Funduq, the sun had set and my son’s bedtime was rapidly approaching when I saw traffic come to a halt and a large swarm of people on the road, a few car-lengths ahead of me. I quickly made sure to lock the doors, wondering what had happened. Was it a terror attack? Was there a car accident? A stone throwing? Thoughts rushed through my mind as local Arabs peered from windows along the road and ran alongside the road towards the gathering of people. I had seen violent swarms and angry mobs in the past, and was even injured in a terror attack over 10 years ago.
The cars in front of me slowly maneuvered past the swarm of people. By the time that my car had reached the crowd, I couldn’t continue any further because of the crowd. Within the crowd I was able to discern a person on the ground. An unmarked car with a small flashing light pulled up beside me and out jumped a local settler. He quickly pulled his large medic bag out of the trunk of his car and ran towards the crowd, which parted to let him through.
One of the local Arabs approached the window of my car and signaled that I roll it down. I carefully opened the window a bit and he proceeded to tell me that it looks like someone was killed in an accident, and requested that I move my car forwards, towards the victim who was laying on the ground, to shine my headlights on the victim, to assist the medic.
I drove slowly forward and he tried to move the crowd away so that my headlights would illuminate the scene of the accident. There were two Arab doctors and one medic, working together to stabilize the victim, who seemed to be in serious condition. Another car with another Israeli settler medic arrived, and four people got to work on the victim. Luckily, my son couldn’t see the medics working from his seat in the back of the car.
When ambulances arrived, the man who had requested that I light up the accident scene approached my car again. “Thank you for helping,” he said in a heavily accented Hebrew.
“What happened?” I asked him, still stunned by the scene.
“The man was hit by an Arab driver who then fled. The injured man is my uncle,” said the Arab with a concerned voice. “These Arabs, they drive so carelessly here. It is all from God. I hope he makes it.”
I asked the man if he was at the scene of the accident when it happened, and he said that he was in the local mosque, and was called out of prayers right when his uncle was hit while walking alongside the road.
“I hope he gets better soon, and I hope that you manage to have a good holiday despite this,” I said to him, remembering that the Moslem holiday of Eid al Adha festivities had started.
This accident that I witnessed, in which Arabs and settlers worked together to save an Arab man’s life, will not make the news. It won’t show up in the media, because it doesn’t involve Arabs attacking settlers or settlers cutting down Arabs’ olive trees. Nevertheless, this type of cooperation happens every day. This is the reality of life that we live in Samaria. Regular people from both sides put their political views aside and respect each other and help each other.