Dan Ami’el’s Story
Our team is working hard, now more than ever, to help the thousands of people who are arriving in Israel in need of support. So many have important, heart-wrenching stories to share, and we take the time to listen and comfort them.
This is part of what we do at Vision for Israel. Our job is not only to provide physical items like backpacks, hygiene kits, and food, we also offer emotional support to the people that we help. Many of them want to tell their stories, and though all of them are important, some really stick with us. Dan Ami'el’s story is a lot like theirs.
In 2004, Dan Ami'el was injured in a mortar shell attack in Kfar Darom while he was outside the synagogue, where he came to pray daily. He was only 19 years old at the time and was injured severely, to the point of near-death.
Dan said, "The immediate diagnosis was that I had a torn main artery. In such an injury it is only a matter of a minute or two until losing consciousness and death. The fact that earlier two mortar shells had fallen saved me because the standby ambulances were already in the field. If I had been hurt from the first shelling at this level of injury, the chance of saving me in time would be very slim.”
While on the ambulance, Dan recounts: "Everything was full of blood. I remember the hands being thrown around. One of the doctors was busy with the dressing, the other is trying to keep me awake at all costs and asking me dozens of times: 'Who are you? Where do you live?' There were moments when I felt extremely tired, I longed to close my eyes and fall asleep. I remember myself focusing on one of the stickers that were pasted on the side of the ambulance and reading it back and forth in a desperate attempt to stay awake. The fact that I was conscious gave doctors hope I could be saved,” he said.
"Dr. Sudi arrived and said, ‘What are you crying for? Start speaking the Psalms!’, so I started speaking the Psalms. It was an amazing thing. One moment I was reading stickers in an effort to stay awake and suddenly I found myself mumbling the Psalms.”
He was transferred to the operating room in the Soroka hospital, where the director of the trauma unit operated on Dan himself. There was extensive bleeding in his body, and it was hours before he left the operating room. His doctors said, despite the surgery, his condition was still very serious and that his life was in danger. Dan was transferred to the intensive care unit at the hospital.
"While arriving at the hospital I lost consciousness. I was put straight into surgery during which I received a transfusion of 27 doses of blood. For the next two weeks, I lay unconscious and I remember dreaming a lot. I dreamed of Jews gathering in synagogues to pray for me to heal. There were many dreams about the Land of Israel and the Temple."
During the lengthy recovery and rehabilitation trajectory, Dan was exposed to other wondrous aspects related to his miraculous rescue. "One day the head of the trauma department came to visit me with a group of students. He starts explaining to them my injury and how I recovered. They ask him: 'How is it that he did not get shrapnel in the chest and heart area?' Then the professor points to me and says to them: 'You will learn that a tallit is a ceramic element'. My whole body was completely crushed except for the organs that had holy vessels on them. The right hand is injured and the left hand, on which the tefillin was—almost undamaged. The lower body was injured but the upper body, which was wrapped in a tallit, was not injured. The head and neck were not injured thanks to the head tefillin.”
Dan returned to the scene of the injury, at the entrance to the Kfar Darom synagogue, and prayed the blessing of Hagomel. "It was Friday. All the residents left the cooking for the Sabbath evening, stood on the steps of the synagogue, and said 'Amen’ after me. I told them: 'I went looking for a tenth for the minyan, and in the end, I found 150 people .'"
Today, Dan is a father of 6 children. His children participated in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration for terror survivors that Vision for Israel sponsors. Had the Lord not intended that day, Dan and his children would not be among us today.
The Lord truly blesses those who are devoted to Him. Though Dan’s experiences were terrifying, God was with him every step of the way.
We ask you to help support people like Dan Ami'el and his family. When you donate to Vision for Israel, you help to make sure that people who have survived terror and warfare have the ability to live long, happy, supported lives. Please donate here.
We hope this story touches your heart as much as Dan has touched our lives.
May the Lord bless and keep you,
Barry & Batya Segal