This past Shabbat at 11 AM, I received one such pager from the national command center from Magen David Adom -- Israel's emergency medical services: Mass Casualty Event has been declared in the Negev Region...at least 10 seriously wounded...town of Rahat...as a result of a huge "brawl".
Over the course of the next hour, the reports continued to flow of dozens of ambulances and mobile Intensive Care Units taking the wounded to nearby hospitals.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
Did you catch that? This feud involving live gunfire from IDF issues weapons, resulted from "a tragic escalation of a fight between two children from rival families over the queue at the barber shop."
At least 19 people were wounded by gunfire on Saturday when a family feud broke out in the southern town of Rahat.
Dozens of ambulances rushed the wounded to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, where one person was admitted in serious condition, and 12 others in moderate-to-serious condition. Another six people suffered from minor wounds.
Magen David Adom paramedics evacuated the casualties wearing flak jackets and helmets, fearing for their own safety.
Although details of the incident are still murky, witnesses told Israeli media outlets that the violence continued for at least 20 minutes, and that rifles and handguns were primarily used. It was unclear whether some of those involved in the fighting were off-duty soldiers.
The police who arrived on the scene managed to restore order, during which eight people were arrested. An investigation into the incident was ongoing, and more arrests were expected.
Shortly after the incident, the mayor of the city, Faiz Abu Sabhan, strongly condemned the fighting, calling on the police to confiscate all the weapons involved.
Sabhan told Israel Radio that the feud was a tragic escalation of a fight between two children from rival families over the queue at the barber shop.
He said a ceasefire was achieved only following the intervention of respectable elders in the community, including himself.
Police said most bullets fired came from IDF issued weapons belonging to soldiers on weekend leave. More arrests were expected.
Is this the Middle Eastern version of Hatfields vs. the McCoys?
At least THEY agreed to stop the fighting in 1891. Wikipedia reminds us:
In 1979, the two families [Hatfield and McCoys] united for a special week's taping of the popular game show Family Feud, in which they played for a cash prize and a pig which was kept on stage during the games.Maybe family feud wouldn't be such a good idea in Rahat.
On June 14, 2003, on the initiative of Reo Hatfield, an actual peace treaty was drawn up and signed in Pikeville by representatives of the two families, even though the feud had ended over a century before. The idea was symbolic: to show that Americans could bury their differences and unite in times of crisis, most notably following the September 11 attacks.
If an explosive gun battle can erupt including Bedouin IDF soldiers as a result of 2 kids fighting over a spot in a barber's shop, imagine would could happen when answering questions on a game show: What are the top 5 causes of family brawls in Rahat?
I guess they wouldn't want a pig as a prize either.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד