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Jerusalem - Palestinian Man Credited With Saving 5 American Yeshiva Students From Arab Lynch Mob, Video Emerges of Rescue

Published on: September 4, 2015 11:30 AM
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Image grab from video showing the rescue. (Btselem)Image grab from video showing the rescue. (Btselem)

Jerusalem - As the five Chasidic yeshiva students from America who found themselves targets of a murderous Arab mob in Chevron yesterday are recuperating from their terrifying ordeal, video footage has emerged of their dramatic rescue, with one of the group sharing the story of their nightmare visit to Chevron with an Israeli news site.

As previously reported on VIN News, the group was traveling to Me’aras Hamachpeyla in Chevron when they were directed by Waze into a Palestinian neighborhood, where their vehicle was stoned and firebombed by a mob of Palestinians.  A Palestinian resident of the area sheltered the young men until they were safely evacuated from the area by Israeli security forces.

“We went yesterday to the Dead Sea and from there we continued in the direction of Me’aras Hamachpeyla so that we could daven there before Rosh Hashana,” one of yeshiva students who has not been publicly identified told B’Chadrei Chareidim.  Two of the yeshiva students were recent arrivals to Israel, while the other three have been there for a longer period of time.


The group got to Chevron at approximately 6 PM.

“We got to a checkpoint that was manned by security forces that appeared to be Arabic but they didn’t prevent us from entering,” recalled the yeshiva student.  “One other Jewish person came through with us, a Bresolver chosid in his car.  We continued to drive and we noticed that people were looking in our direction and were shouting something, but our windows were closed and we didn’t hear what they were saying.”

The yeshiva students found themselves directed by Waze to a dead end street where they saw a crowd of young people had gathered. They attempted to make a u-turn but found themselves pelted with stones and blocks.

“Within seconds, our windshields were shattered and one of the yeshiva students in our car had been hit in the mouth by a rock,” said the yeshiva student. “I tried to open the door but I couldn’t and I heard shouts around me of “Jew! Jew!” and other words that I didn’t understand.  Everything happened within seconds.”

The situation turned from desperate to worse as the car’s tires were set on fire by the surrounding mob.

“We started to daven and to scream, ‘Oy, Basheffer!’  I couldn’t imagine what was going to happen. We had no hope.”

The driver and front seat passengers managed to get their doors open, allowing them to escape, while the three backseat passengers remained trapped in what was soon to be a deadly inferno.

“An Arab who must have been about 25 or 30 approached me and told us to climb out through the windows,” said the yeshiva student.  “I was very concerned. I didn’t know what he wanted to do with us but he managed to persuade me that there was no other option and he helped me climb through the windows.”

Freed from the blazing car, the yeshiva students faced yet another threat to their lives:  a rioting Palestinian mob that was about to close in on them.  Once again, the same Palestinian man came to their aid.

“He shouted something at the group in Arabic, I don’t know what, and he told us in Hebrew to run with him to his house,” said the yeshiva student. “They were chasing us at first but then they stopped and after a few minutes we got to his house.”

The yeshiva students managed to flee the car with nothing but two cell phones.

“While we were running I contacted the Israeli police and I told them, “I am in Chevron, I don’t know where exactly but in another five minutes we will be dead. Come get us out of here quickly.  There are hundreds of Arabs who want to kill us.’  My Hebrew is not good but I told them I was keeping the line open until they got there.”

According to the yeshiva student, the person he had called did not appear to be taking the call seriously.

“Maybe he thought we were joking,” he said.

The group entered the home of their rescuer, Faiz Abu Hamdi, where they saw another Arab man, who appeared to be about 70, and had a walking stick.

“There were more Palestinians who began surrounding the house,” said the yeshiva student. “He went outside and yelled at them. Then he came back in and locked the door.”

The yeshiva students were given something to drink and chargers for the two phones they had managed to save.

“The whole time I was still on the line with the police until I was disgusted with them,” related the yeshiva student.  “I hung up and dialed again but the same thing happened.  Finally, the Palestinian man who spoke Hebrew called the police and he told them where his house was.”

From their vantage point in the apartment, located high on a hill, the yeshiva students were able to see their vehicle, or more accurately, what was left of it.  Among the items lost were passports, money, hats, jackets and two pair of tefillin.

“Everything went up in flames, or maybe they stole some of it,” observed the yeshiva student.

The group remained safely ensconced in the home of their rescuer for approximately half an hour. Neither the IDF or the police showed up to assist them.

“Thankfully, Hakadosh Baruch who helped us,” said the yeshiva student. “I remember that Rabbi Ben Zion Auiring, the Jerusalem commander of Zaka, was known as someone who helped everyone. I never saw him or spoke to him, but one of our group had eaten by him once on Shabbos and gave me his number.  I called him and told him what had happened to us and I begged him to do something because until now no one had done anything to help us get out of Chevron.”

Just ten minutes later, a Jewish resident of Kiryat Arba came to inform the group that help was on the way.

“Just three or four minutes after that a large group from the army and the police came to take us out and they moved us to Kiryat Arba.”

The yeshiva students contacted their families on their way to Kiryat Arba to let them know that they were unharmed. Upon their arrival in Kiryat Arba they were taken to the home of a paramedic where they were given some food and drinks before they underwent a half hour of questioning by Israeli police who wanted to know why Faiz Abu Hamdi had saved them and any words they may have exchanged.

“We don’t know how we merited this kind of salvation,” said the yeshiva student. “He never explained why he was doing this great kindness for us.  By all rights we should not be among the living now.  This is a tremendous miracle.”

Three of the boys were taken to Shaarei Tzedek while the other two remained in Kiryat Arba for further investigation before being taken back to Jerusalem.  Asked when they planned to bentsh Gomel, the yeshiva students said that they were looking forward to doing so at a gala kiddush planned for this Shabbos, in their honor, by Rabbi Auiring.

“We will have a seudas hodaa in honor of this incredible miracle.”

Israeli police defended their response to the yeshiva student’s pleas for help, explaining that calls of this nature are investigated scrupulously before sending units into potentially dangerous Palestinian areas.

In an interview with Ynet News, Hamdi shared his version of the story, saying that he saw the potential disaster unfolding outside his home.

“As soon as we saw that a riot was starting outside, my family and I managed to bring them inside and we quickly closed the doors,” said Hamdi. “We gave them water to drink and tried to tell them that they were safe but they didn’t speak Arabic.”

Why did Hamdi risk his own life to save the five young visitors?

“We are all human, first and foremost,” said Hamdi. “That’s how everyone should behave. We have no problems with the Israelis and we don’t want to have any.”

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Read Comments (24)  —  Post Yours »


 Sep 04, 2015 at 11:37 AM albroker Says:

Israels Arab knesset members would never do this they would join the lynching, Kahane was right.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 12:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Shame on the Israeli authorities, everything sounds so nice and glitzy, they are here to protect us and all that blah blah, when they are needed in an emergency it all becomes a joke, so passive and uncaring


 Sep 04, 2015 at 12:10 PM puppydogs Says:

Hope these kids have a new found appreciation for the IDF.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 01:03 PM yochy Says:

hope all those at the police department are fired for ignoring the pleas of people in an emergency. Maybe they should be thrown in jail as well. What are they stupid. Don't they take these things seriously after other recent events. You need to call protektzia now in order to get the police to come to help you. I am sure this person was eliyahu hanovi there is no other explanation.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 01:10 PM The Police in Chevron are Arabs too! Says:

When they called the 'Police', they spoke to Palestinian, Arab Police or Arab_like, thinking people.

It's the same as the Kenyan in Washington, helping Iran get nukes, while he pretends to be protecting Israel.

With friends like this, who needs enemies?


 Sep 04, 2015 at 01:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Will the Chasidic Yidden who despise Jewish Israeli soldiers and call them the worst names give one minute of thanks in their shteibels this Shabbos or one word of Hakores Hatov for saving Chasidic Yungerliet?


 Sep 04, 2015 at 01:19 PM ayinglefunadorf Says:

Reply to #3  
puppydogs Says:

Hope these kids have a new found appreciation for the IDF.

"Hope these kids have a new found appreciation for the IDF" YES! And lets hope more of us have a new found appreciation for Muslims. Many of them serve in the IDF, save Yidden etc.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 01:22 PM williamsburg Says:

Faiz Abu Hamdi was A GOOD Samaritan, BH!


 Sep 04, 2015 at 01:54 PM Alzinger Says:

I would also like to thank an arab man who set boys into safety.
This story reminds me a lot of Malochim and Lot hiding them inside his house. This man surely deserves a huge thanks. I would appreciate if VIN can get his email or an adress yhat we can extend our thanks to him.
And please remember that it was Hashem’s hands that saved them in the first place because in such situation they could have been dead in a seconds, so everyone would start:”How could Hashem let to murder those frum Yeshiva boys and didn’t save them?” So here He DID saved them miraculously . Please don’t forget to Credit Hashem and to thank h


 Sep 04, 2015 at 01:56 PM The_Truth Says:

Question for the media:
Why is it an open miracle when Jewish tourists get saved by Arabs after getting lost on the road and their car is torched; but its an international war crime when Israel arrests those who fire rockets at civilians?!


 Sep 04, 2015 at 02:18 PM ThankYou Hashem Says:

If our three Kedoshim Eyal, Nafteali and Gilad didnt teach these bozos to take such calls seriously, then nothing will. But fortunately we have an Eibershter that will show us every time who is boss. Thank You Hashem.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 03:14 PM 5TResident Says:

What kind of idiots would follow the Waze app in this fashion? The Waze app doesn't make a distinction between Jewish and Arab areas. If you know there are bad areas around, you shouldn't blindly follow the app.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 03:34 PM sissel613 Says:

I thank this man for taking a chance on saving these boys. He has a special place in the next world. My worry for this man and his family is how long will it take before they are lynched by their fellow Muslims?
I also urge all those who send their children to Eretz Yisroel NOT to do the foolish things these boys did. Take an Egged bus and not drive there or anyone else. Their knowledge of Hebrew is Lashon Kodesh--not Ivrit.

May all things end as happily as this one did
Gut Shabbos to all


 Sep 04, 2015 at 04:17 PM albroker Says:

Reply to #7  
ayinglefunadorf Says:

"Hope these kids have a new found appreciation for the IDF" YES! And lets hope more of us have a new found appreciation for Muslims. Many of them serve in the IDF, save Yidden etc.

yes we have an "appreciation for Muslims" we have Barack Obama, Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, Osama, al-qaeda, ISIS, Islamic jihad and dozens more and cemeteries full of young Jews who were killed by Muslims.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 05:04 PM hashomer Says:

I hope that Mr. Hamzi and his family are safe from the insane arabs surrounding him. His family is definitely in danger now, for saving Jewish lives! What a great thing they did! Baruch HaShem! A reminder to all of us, including haters like albroker...


 Sep 04, 2015 at 05:10 PM SandraM Says:

Lesson for all:
The world: Lynches of Jews continue in the Holy Land. the world is silent.
Jews: There are some good people, BH, who are a ray of light for the future. The Arab man who saved these boys, saved 5 worlds.
Yeshiva Boys: New appreciation hopefully for the IDF.

All of Israel: We need Moshiach. Now.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 05:27 PM savtat Says:

Maybe H"KBH chose a Muslim family to rescue these young men because he wants us to think of them as God's children also. Chasday Hashem and Good Shabbos.


 Sep 04, 2015 at 07:23 PM Esther Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Shame on the Israeli authorities, everything sounds so nice and glitzy, they are here to protect us and all that blah blah, when they are needed in an emergency it all becomes a joke, so passive and uncaring

And what f it were a hoax designed to entrap soldiers-they also have families.


 Sep 05, 2015 at 05:12 PM To idiot #12 Says:

Waze DOES have a feature that allows a driver to select not in Palestinian territories. The problem is, it doesn't always work. It is very easy to make a wrong turn in Hevron, I have nearly done it & I live near the Gush. We once ended up driving at night through an Arab village because that was the way Waze sent us. Why have it if you aren't going to follow the directions? Talk about blaming the victim!! And what do you suggest the bachurim should have done instead of relying on Waze? Stopped at a local mosque to ask directions?


 Sep 05, 2015 at 10:13 PM Anonymous Says:

the idf didn't come because they knew these were chareidi boys


 Sep 06, 2015 at 12:26 AM czyrankevic Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

the idf didn't come because they knew these were chareidi boys



 Sep 06, 2015 at 12:31 AM Yiddishe Mama Says:

If you are not Israeli and don't know your way around Israel, take an Egged bus. Driving in areas filled with Arab towns using Waze is asking trouble. Waze does not distinguish between dangerous Arab and safe Jewish territory. Be humble, accept your limitations, and travel with people who know where they are going.


 Sep 06, 2015 at 12:33 AM Anonymous Says:

Hereby thanking Mr Hamzi!!!!
Drivers. Go by bus to this dangerous places. Not by car.


 Sep 08, 2015 at 04:30 PM ActualJew Says:

Reply to #17  
savtat Says:

Maybe H"KBH chose a Muslim family to rescue these young men because he wants us to think of them as God's children also. Chasday Hashem and Good Shabbos.

This is a beautiful idea. Maybe so? We are not allowed to speculate on stuff like this since Eliyahu HaNavi was the last to be able to discern it, but still, I love your thinking. Just think of the brave Druze cop who died Kiddush HaShem saving lives in the shul in Jerusalem.
May we all see the cup as half full. Shanah tovah, savtat.


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