Bomber wipes out family, and Magen David Adom volunteer

March 04, 2002

* This is a follow up to yesterday's dispatch Palestinians celebrate as 24 Israelis die in terror attacks (March 3, 2002).

[Note by Tom Gross]


While elements of the European media this morning predictably blamed Ariel Sharon for the fact two dozen Israelis were killed on Saturday and Sunday, others concentrated on the victims. Some of you have asked to see dispatches on the victims. Details of the victims and perpetrator can be found in the story attached below from Britain's leading tabloid newspaper, The Sun ("Bomber wipes out family").


Below is a testimony to Yochai Porat, Coordinator of the Jewish Agency's Magen David Adom Volunteer Program, who was killed yesterday morning at Ofra.

As a leading volunteer for the Magen David Adom emergency rescue unit, Porat had himself helped save the lives of many victims of terror attacks. He was in charge of one of the ambulance crews that treated teenage victims of the Dophinarium disco terror attack in Tel Aviv last year. Only last week, Porat presented his team to Sen. Hillary Clinton on her solidarity visit.

-- Tom Gross


Remembering Yochai Porat
An email from Viki Angel (Porat's employer)
March 4, 2002

First Sergeant (Res.) Yochai Porat was killed on Sunday morning of March 3rd by a sniper's bullet at the Ofra checkpoint.

I saw him, a week before, young, vigorous, in the uniform of a Magen David Adom paramedic, surrounded by young volunteers from six different countries, at the time of Sen Hillary Clinton's visit to the Jewish Agency-Magen David Adom foreign volunteers program. These young men and women looked to him as their leader, which he was. As he emerged from his meeting with Sen. Clinton, his boyish face was filled with emotion. Later, when he handed out certificates to the course graduates the pride was visible on his face. He had helped train a new group of volunteers who would be tied to Israel by a bond of personal service and fraternity. He was more than a medic, more than an administrator; he was an educator.

Yochai joined the Jewish Agency's Tnuat Aliyah staff as coordinator of the Foreign Volunteers Program, which is jointly run with the Magen David Adom. For ten years he had been a volunteer medic with the Magen David Adom in Israel. The foreign volunteer program, which had been in existence for many years, took on new impetus after Yochai became its coordinator. He expanded, developed and improved this program. In less than a year the program became well known in many countries.

As part of his duties, he personally taught first aid to volunteers. He took into consideration the personal needs each volunteer. He carefully chose the assignments of each one to appropriate MDA stations; he offered personal guidance; he gave information about aliyah possibilities and life in Israel, and did all he could to help each volunteer both while they were enrolled in the program and later on, after their return to their native lands.

Yochai was a most dedicated and employee His personal enthusiasm and his smile succeeded in attracting volunteers to the program and to return and volunteer again for additional tours of duty.

Along with his work in the Jewish Agency, Yochai continued to volunteer, himself, for the Magen David Adom, and helped save lives of countless victims in of terror attacks and tragedies, such as te Versailles banquet hall disaster, the Dophinarium disco terror attack, terror attacks in Kfar Sava and Karnei Shomron.

About a year ago, with the increase of terror attacks in Israel, an in particular, in the center of Jerusalem, he convinced the MDA to assign an ambulance to him wherever he might be so that he could respond at a moment's notice to offer initial care. This ambulance would be parked next to the offices of Tnuat Aliyah.

Above all he viewed his work in the Jewish Agency with foreign MDA volunteers as a labor of love. He did all in his power to draw the young men and women of the closer to Israel and to the Magen David Adom Family.

Today Yochai will be buried at 16:00 in the Kfar Sava military cemetery.
He leaves behind parents, a brother and sister.
May his memory be blessed.



Bomber wipes out family
By Nick Parker
The Sun
March 4, 2002,,2-2002100773,00.html

This loving family was blown to bits by a suicide bomber in the latest outrage in Israel.

And the picture below shows the sick fanatic who killed them.

Proud parents Shlomo and Gafnit Nechmad and daughters Shiraz, seven, and Liran, three, were wiped out by Palestinian terrorist Mohammed Daragmeh, 20.

He walked up to family groups in the streets of an Orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem after they left synagogues and triggered his device.

Nine died in the blast, including two babies and two other children. Dozens were wounded. Scraps of flesh and clothes were scattered on the street.

The carnage shocked even hardened members of a burial service which collects body parts after attacks.

One said: "To see babies whose heads have been blown off was simply shocking."

One young survivor of Saturday night's blast said: "My family was sitting around a courtyard talking and suddenly all I could see was people flying in the air."

Bomber Daragmeh took the photo of himself with a timer as he posed with an automatic weapon before setting off on his deadly mission.

He is a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, linked to Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.

A spokesman said the attack avenged the deaths of Palestinians including a girl of ten in Israeli raids on the West Bank last week.

At the Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem where Daragmeh lived, news of the bombing brought hundreds into the street celebrating and firing guns.

The carnage continued yesterday when a Palestinian sniper on a hill fired on an Israeli army checkpoint in the West Bank, killing seven soldiers and three civilians.

Israel sent tanks, warplanes and helicopter gunships on reprisal raids, hitting several Palestinian Authority security targets and killing four Palestinian policemen.

One F-16 blasted a police station a few hundred yards from Arafat's command base in the city of Ramallah.

Hardline Israeli PM Ariel Sharon was meeting his inner security cabinet last night amid calls for tougher action against Palestininan militants.

Israeli Cabinet Minister Dan Naveh said: "There is no alternative but to put an end to Arafat's rule."

Masked members of the militant Hamas group celebrated the Jerusalem atrocity and the West Bank shooting by dressing up as "suicide bombers" with fake explosives strapped to their waists yesterday.

Hundreds gathered for a demonstration at Jebalya, in the northern Gaza Strip, to pledge their support to the struggle against Israel.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.