rock-throwing in Issawiya (archive)
rock-throwing in Issawiya (archive)Flash 90

The happiest day in the lives of a haredi couple from Gush Etzion nearly ended in tragedy when they took a wrong turn while heading to the hospital to welcome their newborn son into the world.

On Saturday, Eliyahu and Beila Shtibel were heading to Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus after Beila went into labor. Due to construction work in the area, the couple missed the turn to the hospital and drove into the Issawiya neighborhood.

A large group of young Arabs began to gather around the vehicle. When the couple asked how to get to the hospital, the young men instead gave them directions that would lead further into the neighborhood.

Eliyahu described the incident in an interview with the 'Hakol Hayedudi' (Jewish Voice) website. "An elderly Arab said to me, 'Come on, what are you doing here, follow me.' I started following him, and while I was making a U-turn, someone threw a plastic bottle at us from behind, and from that moment they just started throwing stones and fireworks at us."

"They shattered the back windshield, there were so many stones and fireworks. It was like they were ready for a Jew to come in and they would lynch him. Fireworks exploded right on top of our car.

"All this while my wife was in the middle of labor," he said. "I'm wearing haredi clothing on Shabbat, and they see a woman in the back, we asked them how to get to Mount Scopus, it was clear that we were on our way to a hospital to give birth. I don't want to think what would have happened if I had driven according to how the young Arabs directed me at first."

He said that when he made a u-turn, "Suddenly one guy, he looked to be 16 years old, opened my door, grabbed my head, started punching me in the face, and tried to get me out of the vehicle. I pushed him, closed the door, and he tried to open it again. I close it and he opens it again."

After fending off this attacker, Eliyahu drove after the elderly man's vehicle while fireworks continued to explode around them for 200 meters.

When they finally arrived at the hospital, "Throughout the birth, my wife was distracted by what happened, but now she really can't sleep. Both my wife and I are now in a difficult situation, we have nightmares, but the strength of Gush Etzion is helping us a lot."

Eliyahu called the couple's escape a "great miracle." "God saved us, and thank God, the story ends with the birth of a baby boy."