Terror attack victim saved by his tefillin

The bullet fragment only hurt him lightly as it hit the black box on his upper arm that contains verses from the Torah.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

One of the victims of Sunday’s terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City was saved by his tefillin (phylacteries) that he was still wearing on his way home from morning services at the Western Wall, Walla News reported Sunday.

“I live in the Old City, in the Jewish Quarter,” said Ze’evi Katzelnelbogen. “As I turned left towards my home on Shalshelet Street, I hear gunshots, loud confusion, I don’t exactly understand what’s going on though I know it’s something. Suddenly I felt a strong pain in my arm, exactly at the spot where my tefillin is.”

Tefillin consist of one small box strapped on a man’s forehead and another to his upper left arm, near the heart, both holding various verses from the Torah on small pieces of parchment.

He ran back towards the Western Wall plaza with a bullet fragment in his arm, finding a safe place to stay before being taken to the hospital.

“Thank God, I understand the great miracle…that God did for me, that in a second I could have lost my life and I got it back as a gift,” said the 46-year-old father of eight. “It’s written that the tefillin are linked to the heart…. You feel protected, and thank God, it was an extremely powerful experience.”

Katzenelbogen wished a speedy recovery to the others who were injured in the attack, and had another hope as well.

“I also want to wish that all of us, our nation, can walk safely beneath our house… that we shouldn’t know these kinds of crazy things anymore,” he said.

“There’s no room for such people under our house,” he repeated, clearly referring to the Temple Mount. “Anyone who wants to kill us should pay the price…and we should live in our land in happiness.”

In the attack, which occurred close to the exit of the Arab market whose narrow street leads down to the Western Wall plaza, Hamas terrorist Fahdi Abu Shkhaydam from eastern Jerusalem used a Beretta M12 submachine gun to kill one person and injure four others besides Katzelnelbogen.

Two of those injured were police officers, who were lightly hurt in the shootout with the terrorist. Two civilians were brought to Hadassah Hospital and Shaare Zedek respectively, with moderate to severe injuries.

The terrorist was shot and killed within half a minute by police officers who rushed immediately to the scene. A knife was also discovered on his body afterwards.

According to Public Security Ministert Omer Barlev, the incident could have ended much more tragically.

“[The gunman] moved through the alleys and fired quite a bit,” he said at the scene. “Luckily, the alley was mostly empty because otherwise — heaven forbid — there would have been more casualties. The entire incident lasted 32 or 36 seconds. The actions of the female officers was — operationally — at the highest possible level.”