Israeli Hero Saved Two Bedouin Brothers from Drowning
The tragic deaths of three brothers from the Bedouin village Kuseife in the Negev, who were swept off to sea by strong currents during their family’s visit to the Ashkelon coast last Thursday, shocked Israel. After four days of rescue efforts which involved the Israeli Navy, police ships, jet skis, helicopter, and divers, the third brother’s body, Nahed Sariye was discovered on Sunday, March 31.
Nahed, 26, and his brothers, Suliman, 19, and Atef, 16, were buried together on Sunday in a funeral that drew hundreds from across the region.
On Tuesday, however, emerged a story of heroism following the tragic events. On that fateful Thursday, two other brothers from the Sariye family had been saved by Yaakov Bruchim, a 22-year-old from Ashkelon. Bruchim was walking back home following prayers at his synagogue, when he saw a helicopter at Ashkelon’s Delilah Beach.
“I asked myself what was a helicopter doing at the beach,” Bruchim told Israel’s Walla! News. “Suddenly, I heard shouting and didn’t understand why.”
At that point, Bruchim saw the two brothers drowning and immediately jumped into the water and pulled one of the brothers, Salaam, 22, out to shore. He entered the deep waters again and pulled the other brother, Salman, 19, out as well.
Hassan Sariye, the father of the boys, said that although he lost three sons, he gained another in Yaakov Bruchim. “God took away three sons but gave us another,” the emotional father told Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu’s Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, who came to visit the bereaved family on Tuesday, April 2.
“He [Yaakov] is one of those people who doesn’t care about race, gender, or origin. He is a beautiful face of Israel,” said Sariye.
Even after saving the two brothers, Yaakov continued to stay with the Sariye family for the four days of search and rescue until the other bodies had been found. “He’s here all the time,” said Hassan. “He is like my son, one of the brothers, and my home is open to him and his family 24 hours.”
The modest Bruchim explained that he “didn’t do anything, but if I could have done more, I would have.” “He is like my brother,” Bruchim said of Salaam. “With people like him we can live in peace.”
“This is a tragedy for the nation of Israel,” said Minister Aharonovitch to Israeli reporters on Tuesday. “To lose three sons, is too much.”