David Ramati, one of the two Israeli Jews injured in Friday morning’s terror attack in Gush Etzion, escaped serious harm when he was just barely able to jump out of the way of a terrorist’s incoming car.
“The terrorist drove past me, then made a U-turn, and at that point I understood that he was planning to attack me,” Ramati told Army Radio. “I realized that I didn’t have time to draw my gun, so I jumped the fence. While I was in the air [jumping the fence], he managed to run into me with his car.”
Ramati added that just before the terrorist rammed into him, the terrorist smiled at him.
“I saw the smile of the terrorist’s face. I told him ‘You’re not going to kill me today.’ I wasn’t afraid.”
It’s not the first time Ramati’s life has been on the line, however.
“He’s lived through a lot of wars and terror attacks. No terrorist is going to stop him. He’s only regret is that he wasn’t able to draw his gun in time and eliminate the terrorist.”
A 70-year-old American-born immigrant to Israel, Ramati, originally Tim Bratvold, was born to a non-Jewish family in Chicago and raised in Wisconsin.
After dropping out of college in 1965, Ramati joined the Marine Corps, and was deployed to Vietnam, where he served two combat tours of duty. It was during his 19-month service in Vietnam that the Wisconsin farmer began to examine his own religious beliefs. Ramati was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, and upon his return to the US, Ramati completed his studies at the University of Wisconsin, where he met his future wife.
After the Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Ramati and his wife became inspired to convert to Judaism and immigrate to Israel, leaving behind their farm near Green Bay for the Jewish state, then still reeling from the shock of the surprise attack by Syria and Egypt.
After converting and becoming Orthodox Jews, Ramati, his wife, and their two small children moved to Israel in 1975, and joined a Kibbutz. Born as Tim Bratvold, Ramati adopted a Hebrew name and joined the Israeli army.
But the two did not connect with the Kibbutz way of life, and sought to engage their own pioneering spirit elsewhere, eventually settling in Kiryat Arba, next to the ancient city of Hevron.
Ramati served for 25 years in the IDF, rising to the rank of Captain. He has since become a writer, coauthoring God’s Chosen: Renaissance and writing Winging It and Destiny of Memories: Fire and Rain, based on his experiences in the Vietnam war.