A Palestinian man said he and his wife face almost certain death at the hands of fellow Palestinian Arabs for daring to save the lives of two Israeli Jewish children wounded in a 2016 terrorist attack.
Just over two years ago, on July 1, 2016, Rabbi Miki Mark was driving with his family near the Judean town of Hebron when Palestinian terrorists opened fire on their vehicle.
Rabbi Mark was killed. His wife, Chava, suffered serious injuries, and their two teenage children, Tehila and Pedaya, were lightly-to-moderately wounded.
The Palestinian man in question, whose name has not been published to protect him from further threats, witnessed the attack. He and his wife, who is a medical doctor, immediately called an ambulance and rushed over to the Mark family's overturned vehicle to begin helping the survivors.
The man's wife worked to stop the bleeding from 14-year-old Tehila's open stomach wound, while he hugged and tended to the lighter injuries of a terrified 15-year-old Pedaya.
"It doesn’t matter to me if it was an accident or a terror attack, it’s irrelevant. These are people, children, who need help, and if I can help, I will help them," he told Israel's Hadashot news. "I’m not sorry that I helped Jewish people. I did it because of my heart. And I know that in the end, God will bless me."
But his unabashed willingness to aid wounded Jewish children put this man's life in mortal danger. He recalled that soon after the attack, his neighbors "started calling me a traitor. They started to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at my car. I was worried that when I left the house I would be burned alive."
Israeli military officials granted the man and his wife a temporary permit to live in Israel proper for their own safety. However, that permit has now expired and Israel has declined to renew it, insisting that the Palestinian man no longer faces such threats and noting that over the past two years he has visited the Palestinian Authority several times without incident.
"If I go [back to the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories], it is as if I’m going to my death," he told Israeli television.
There is still some hope that the public exposure will compel the government to extend the permit for this brave couple.
In the meantime, the affair provides a pointed reminder as to why a genuine peace remains so elusive.
Two of the primary stipulations of the so-called "Oslo" peace process were that the Palestinians recognize and accept the right of the Jewish people to live in this land, and that the Palestinian Authority educate its population for peaceful coexistence.
As evidenced by the fact that this man's neighbors want to murder him and his wife for having the audacity to help wounded Jewish children, these obligations have still not been fulfilled nearly 25 years after the accords were first signed.
PHOTO: Rabbi Mark's children, Tehila and Pedaya, are consoled by family and friends during their father's funeral in 2016. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)