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Community rallies around Israeli stabbed in Cape Town




“We were walking past the Prestwich Memorial when suddenly about seven youths surrounded us. I screamed and Yariv tried to protect me,” remembers Edut. The attackers fled with the couple’s cell phones and Edut ran to the other side of the street. She was joined by Nitzan who said he needed to get to hospital – he had been stabbed.

They took a taxi to Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital and Nitzan collapsed at the door due to loss of blood. But within half an hour he was stabilised, and sent for a CT scan, which showed his arteries had not been affected. However, he did need to be operated on, and the ER team set about looking for an anaesthetist.

The couple were astounded when they heard that  no anaesthetist was willing to go to the hospital at that late hour, so the operation was delayed until the following morning.

Meanwhile, Edut, alone and scared in a city she didn’t know, reached out to Israeli friends who then alerted the Jewish community in Cape Town.

“I woke up early on Saturday to a lot of phone calls,” says Michal Ilan, a new shlicha in Cape Town. She was told about the incident and rushed to the hospital to see if she could help – along with strangers, community leaders and Hebrew speakers who did not know the couple, but put aside their weekend to come to their aid.

“I sat with Shahaf and her phone just kept ringing with phone calls and messages from near and far,” says Ilan.

Director of the SA Zionist Federation Cape Council, Julie Berman, also rushed to assist, organising an instant support network for the couple, ranging from trauma counselling to food.

“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time and it wasn’t political – it can happen in any country,” emphasises Berman.

She recalls just a year ago when an Israeli student was knocked down by a car in Cape Town and spent months recovering in the city. She also spoke of a South African child being hurt in Ra’nana, who was embraced by the community there. “We look after each other, and the outpouring of love and support from the community and has been unbelievable.”

Berman says that the police who came to take a statement were excellent and thorough, perhaps improving the traumatic incident for the couple.

As Edut sat at the hospital, community member Dafna Sher approached her, offering her accommodation in her home. “She was a lifesaver,” says Shahaf, as Sher assisted her with returning their rental car, checking out of the hotel, dealing with the hospital and transporting her around Cape Town. When Nitzan was discharged, he also stayed with the Shers.

Nitzan has made an excellent recovery, “but he has two large scars and is dealing with flashbacks and nightmares,” says Edut. The couple are now in Johannesburg, which Nitzan visits monthly for work, and he will continue to do so. They hope to return to Cape Town one day for a better experience.

Edut appeals to anyone with influence at Christiaan Barnard Hospital to ensure there are anaesthetists on call at all times; and that security is stepped up in Green Point near the Prestwich Memorial.

“I want to say to the community: Many thanks… we felt really embraced by your willingness to help. There was so much warmth and it is really important that we can rely on someone and ask for help. After that traumatic experience, it feels good. It feels good.”


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  1. shuki ben ami

    Nov 30, 2017 at 11:40 am

    ‘Dafna Sher Lemal was my toor guide in Cape Town a day before its happend. Dafna is a real angel… She is a great member of the Jewish Community… a Jewish pride…’

  2. Devora Even-Tov

    Nov 30, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    ‘I am situated in Johannesburg and if they ever feel like they need a home away from home they should just contact me. Bayit Patuach.


  3. Amos Borochov

    Dec 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    ‘It is much safer in South Africa than in Israel, where the Arabs feel free to stab and murder Jewish people at any time, just because there are Jewish. ‘

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