Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in a ceremony granting citizenship Aug. 6, 2019, to a Palestinian who rescued Israeli children after a terrorist attack (screenshot JNS)

A Palestinian man who rescued Israeli children wounded in a 2016 terrorist attack has been granted residency in Israel after losing his job and facing death threats.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced the move Tuesday, the Jewish News Syndicate reported.

Praising the man for his “selfless, noble” acts, Deri hugged him as he presented him with his new identity documents.

“You belong here,” the Israeli official said.

The unnamed 28-year old man and his wife were traveling near their hometown of Hebron on July 1, 2016, when they encountered the overturned vehicle of Rabbi Miki Mark and his wife, Chava.

The car had gone off the road after being sprayed with bullets in a terrorist attack, JNS reported. The rabbi was killed and his wife was seriously wounded.

The Palestinian couple immediately stopped and helped evacuate the couple’s trapped teenage children from the car. The couple then comforted and administered first aid to the injured and frightened teens, and remained until emergency services arrived, JNS said.

“I took the boy and I hugged him. I gave him some water and applied iodine, and just kept telling him that everything was going to be OK,” said the Palestinian man.

“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 said “the girl told me, ‘God sent an Arab to help us.’”

Another Palestinian, a doctor, later assisted. But a rescuer told NPR that more Palestinians began to arrive, and some threatened to kill the survivors.

The 28-year-old Palestinian told the growing mob: “If any of you approach my car, you will see what I am capable of. They are under my protection.”

Refuge in Israel

As word spread in the Palestinian territories, the man was branded a traitor, his boss fired him and he was subject to death threats, JNS reported.

He sought refuge in Israel while his wife and young son remained near Hebron. JNS reported he received a work visa, but it was not renewed last year, and he became homeless.

Israel’s Channel 12 news publicized his plight, prompting a number of Israeli leaders to press for him to receive Israeli residency.

His wife and son also received residency on Tuesday.


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