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ICEJ Donates Paramedic Kits to Sadot Negev Region

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On a recent visit to Israel’s south, ICEJ senior staff David Parsons and Nicole Yoder met with Rafi Babian, the security chief of the Sadot Negev Regional Council and one of the Israeli heroes amid the Hamas terror invasion last October 7. Due to his experiences that harrowing day, Rafi had urgently requested paramedical kits for all 16 communities under his watch and the Christian Embassy was honoured to donate these kits on behalf of our donors.

Aid-Rafi Babian, a man of faith and many skills, with a medical kit donated by ICEJ

Rafi has many roles as a licensed ambulance driver, trained paramedic, firefighter, and policeman, and all these acquired skills were needed to face the daunting challenges on that “Black Shabbat.”

When the first massive barrage of rockets started landing early that morning, Rafi initially thought it was a routine rocket attack. But as he quickly left his community and a house full of holiday guests in Kibbutz Alumim to report for duty, Rafi was surprised by heavily armed terrorists on the surrounding roads.

With battles raging all around and many of his region’s communities on fire, Rafi led his first-responder teams in bravely entering dangerous areas to evacuate civilians and aid the wounded. The scene was heart-wrenching as the wounded or deceased, some badly burned, were brought to a central point for treatment and evacuation. Some were beyond help, and even hard to identify.

“The only thing I could do for those caring for the wounded was offer the paramedic kit from my truck and a small first aid kit,” Rafi said. “I am comforted to know that even these meagre supplies saved lives.”

Yet despite their best efforts, Rafi and his team could only do so much. Lacking stretchers, they improvised by loading mattresses from nearby houses onto wagons borrowed from local farmers to evacuate the injured.

Rafi Babian displaying medical kit for Sadot Negev Regional Council

Apologising for the emotion in his voice, Rafi stressed why he had asked us for help in procuring more paramedic kits. In the hands of trained professionals like him, they could have saved more lives. The kits come packed with specialised airway tubes, suction equipment, IV infusion setups, and many other items crucial for treating the severely wounded.

“These medical supplies were sorely needed. We prepare for the worst but hope that another October 7th never occurs,” Rafi choked, the painful memories still fresh. “Thank you so much for your donation. We truly appreciate it, and even more for the emotional support in times of crisis – the encouraging phone calls to check in on us.”

“Though many families aren’t sure if they will return, my hope is that we may meet again when the flowers bloom and the children return to our communities,” he added.

Burnt cars near the entrance to Kibbutz Alumim, October 9, 2023. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90

Kibbutz Alumim, located in the Sadot Negev region, was among the many communities that fought hard for survival against the terrorist onslaught that day. This area has shown remarkable unity and resilience. In Alumim, the community defended themselves for over seven hours without any IDF assistance, eventually taking out 38 Hamas terrorists. Sadly, 22 of their foreign workers lost their lives.

On Memorial Day recently, the community held a ceremony in the place where the foreign workers had lived. The ceremony included prayers in Hebrew and Thai, as well as a traditional Jewish song of belief in the Messiah and then HaTikvah, Israel’s national anthem.

“Though I am not well-versed in Christianity and Islam, I have studied them somewhat,” noted Rafi. “I remember praying alongside representatives of all three religions in one of our burned fields a few years ago when the fire balloons were coming over the border and setting our farmland ablaze. I fervently hoped our prayers for peace would be heard. Today I am unsure if true peace will ever come, but I cling to the hope that we can leave a better world for our children. Prayer sustains me. Without faith, I would be utterly lost.”

As our meeting was ending, Rafi shared that he was finally going to speak to a trauma counsellor about what he went through on October 7.

“Since that day, I haven’t spoken about what I witnessed as people were evacuated. It’s time to process the past so we can build the future,” he confided.


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