Swords Of Iron

258th day of fighting

Matan Gida, an EMT in MDA’s Medicycle Unit- The Heroes of The 7th of October

Matan Gida, an EMT in MDA’s Medicycle Unit, speaks of the difficult mission of handling the bodies of those murdered in that bloody Saturday.

Exactly a month has passed since that black Saturday yet I am still lost on where to begin writing everything that I have been through since that Saturday and during these weeks that have followed. It all began on Saturday, the festival of Simchat Torah, in my beloved Moshav. We really enjoy the happy atmosphere and the prayers in Moshav Bareket especially in the Holidays.

On Saturday morning, at 6:30am I woke up to got to the synagogue and in the distance I hear sounds of explosions but as one who had grown up in Judea and Samaria I am used to these kinds of sounds, so I proceeded to the synagogue.

While I was praying, impatiently waiting for the special prayer for rain which is the highlight of the holiday, I received a phone call from MDA in which they explain to me the situation and ask me to perform the most difficult task I have ever done.

I must say that just the day before I had been released from hospital after having an operation and I was still in pain, yet I knew it is no time think of myself so I join the mission. I called my good friend, Motti Friedman, and explained the mission to him. I asked him to join me and he agreed. His task was to take an MDA truck and travel to the South and collect the bodies of the soldiers that have fallen in combat.

During the journey south I received an emergency recruitment order. I got a call from the IDF Reserves requesting me to arrive as soon as possible so they could begin the assessment of the situation in order to understand what is happening. I was very conflicted since I am an MDA EMT, a firefighter and a sniper in the military, all important and significant duties, but I was on my way to a perform a task of the utmost importance where I would contribute more. I explained this to the IDF recruiter, and continued with my task.

On route to the south, I attempted to understand what was happening and where the terrorists were in order to stay away from them but everything was so unclear. It was unknown how far the terrorists had reached so I just begged God to keep us safe and that all will be OK.

I don’t want to burden you with the horrors, and I don’t believe there is a way to explain it to someone who wasn’t there. It was simply hell, and scenes that were difficult to see. Ever since I was 15 I have lived and breathed the world of saving lives, and I’ve seen many awful things, but something like that, and to experience those kinds of feelings, is something I’ve never been through. In the background the sounds of gunfire and explosions continued nonstop. We finished loading the bodies onto the truck and left for the IDF site that identified the bodies. From there we headed to the rabbinate in Tzrifin for the rest of the burial process.

We completed our mission in the early hours of Sunday. My eyes were closing by themselves. I got home and attempted to fathom what I had experienced. I rested for a few hours until another call from MDA requesting me to travel to the Sderot MDA station and join the Intensive Care team.

Right at the beginning of the shift we arrived at scenes which are impossible to describe in words, soldiers and civilians seriously wounded by the terrorists’ gunfire and rocket strikes.

Between incidents, while we are waiting at the station for the next call, bodies of soldiers and civilians arrived and we took them to a designated area in the community center until they were taken for burial.

I will never forget the soldiers I treated that black Saturday: Chen Buchris, Afik Rosental, Yifatch Ya’abetz, Peleg Salem and Yaakov Kressninsky, may their memories be blessed.

Unfortunately, there were more bodies we couldn’t identify. Once at the IDF recognition site, fingerprints were taken from them, but we weren’t told their names.

I ask the soldiers and the civilians who aren’t with us today to guard Am Israel, the kidnapped and the wounded from above, I completely believe that this situation will end with us being stronger.

Israel needs a strong MDA! To Donate click here

Skip to content