Aryeh Gotlieb, the driver who was seriously wounded in the terrorist shooting attack in which Batsheva Nigri was murdered, was released from the hospital today (Monday), two weeks after the attack.
Gotlieb departed Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva and will now be transferred to Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer for rehabilitation.
Gotlieb was giving a ride to his sister-in-law, Batsheva Nigri, and his young niece at the time of the shooting. The child witnessed her mother's murder from the back seat but miraculously was unharmed.
He continued driving until they reached a safe location despite suffering multiple gunshot wounds before being taken to the hospital.
Last week, he recounted the attack to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva: "At the entrance to the town there is a hitchhiking station," he said. "There I see Batsheva and Shirel, her daughter. Batsheva sits in the front and Shirel in the back. I say the Traveler's Prayer and off we go."
He explained that, "The road between Beit Hagai and Kiryat Arba is one of the most dangerous in Judea and Samaria, because a lot of checkpoints have been opened under the instruction of the Major-General, after they were closed due to terror attacks. Within a range of about seven minutes' drive, there are seven in places from which a person can carry out a terror attack and disappear within ten seconds into Area A."
"The funnel of Hebron reaches there," he explained. "It's always crowded there, with trucks and vehicles, which places the settlers right into the jaws of the lion - the Palestinian travelers. I near the traffic circle and drive slowly. When I enter the traffic circle, I hear a burst from an entire magazine of an M-16. I feel a slap from the side - glass and the metal of bullets hit my face and body. I understand that they fired at us and I say, 'They shot at us, they shot at us.' Batsheva, beside me, does not respond, Shirel is asking what to do. I told her to call MDA immediately."
Gotieb continued, "I continued driving, while it was clear to me that I was going to die. We're talking about gunfire from a distance of two meters, fired directly at me. We were sitting ducks in a firing range, they emptied a magazine on me. At that moment I say Shema Yisrael and the confession, with the feeling that I won't last a long time. I thought, 'Where do I go - forward or turn back at the traffic circle to the Judea Brigade? Or straight towards Kiryat Arba, a distance of 4-5 minutes' travel.' I decided not to make a u-turn at the traffic circle, because maybe they were still waiting for me and would shoot me again to ensure I was dead."
"I continued driving straight, without knowing what my injuries were. I felt disconnected. It was clear to me that I was not going to last until Kiryat Arba, a distance of a few minutes' drive, when I was spraying blood in every direction, my windshield and window were shattered by the bullets. In a split-second decision I decided to continue until I saw a Jew who would help me. We continued with Shirel speaking to MDA on the phone. They asked where we were. I told her to say that we were at the Hakvasim Junction. I saw a construction project from Mekorot at the side of the road, where they are working on the new [water] pipe, and there are security guards there.
"I passed the two traffic circles, took a right in the vehicle, and stopped on the side, waiting for the security guard to notice me. After a minute the security guard came out. I told him that they shot at us and that he should call the center. During this time, Shirel was trying to wake her mother up and screaming, 'Mom, wake up.' It was clear to me that she was no longer with us. She did not suffer, and she was killed on the spot."
He continued, "The security guard brings Shirel out of the vehicle so that she won't continue to be exposed to the sight more than she already has seen. I remain in the vehicle with the murdered Batsheva. I'm waiting for them to come and save me. I closed my eyes and lifted my head so that I can manage to breathe. I feel like I am dying. After 2-3 minutes I heard army vehicles approaching. My eyes are closed and I hear someone saying, 'Two critical' and understand that from their perspective, this means that the paramedic has not yet declared death, but there are two who are no longer among the living."
When, after Gotlieb had been taken to the hospital, he was informed that the terrorists responsible for the attack had been caught, he said: "This is not encouraging and it does not make me happy that they caught them. They should prevent the next terror attack. We have brave and elite fighters but the idea is to prevent terror in the first place. I don't understand this cowardice, of giving to the enemy at the expense of our, the settlers', lives."