At a tearful graduation ceremony, Yael Shevach, the widow of Rabbi Raziel Shevach z’l killed by Palestinian terrorists just under a year ago, says she has “chosen life”, by training to become a certified paramedic with the Israeli ambulance service.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach was 35 year old when he was killed on 9th January 2018 in a drive by shooting near his home. The couple lived in the small town of Havat Gilad in the Shomron region where Raziel played a major part in community life. He served as the town’s mohel, (performing circumcisions) shochet (preparing kosher meat), teacher, and also as the town’s senior paramedic. He was on his way home after checking a baby boy he had circumcised days earlier when terrorists opened fire on his car. He had been due to give a class that evening in the couple’s home the day he was killed.

The Shevach family
The Shevach family

In the aftermath of Raziel’s death, Yael (33) was determined to do something to perpetuate her husband’s dedication to life. “During the shiva (mourning period), I decided to do something to show how important it was to him to volunteer as a paramedic.” She added, “For the entire period of our lives here, Raziel treated so many people, providing medical assistance to so many, it was such an important part of his life.”

In coordination with Magen David Adom (MDA), the Israeli ambulance service, she was instrumental in creating a new paramedic unit to serve the local area. Her decision to join the course herself was emotionally hard, but she said helped her channel the tragedy in the most positive way she could.

Funeral of Raziel Shevach
Funeral of Raziel Shevach

“Almost a year ago, they drove me in a speeding ambulance, with a siren blaring in the direction of the hospital after Raziel was shot,” Yael Shevach said at the paramedic graduation ceremony held last week, “but this time I went by my own choosing, with my uniform, as a medic.”

“I chose life,” she told the crowd of friends and family and later posting her words to social media. “The goal of those who murdered my husband was that we would not deal with life, but with death, they wanted to destroy our lives, and I decided to show them that they did not succeed.”

“Choosing life is dealing with living things, putting more emphasis on living, and even living bigger than before. Becoming a paramedic is my revenge.”

In just under a year, the MDA course in Raziel Shevach’s memory has trained 33 new paramedics that will serve Havat Gilad and the surrounding towns in the Northern Shomron region.