From Gaza border: The volunteer who rescued me

It happens to everyone, locking your keys in the car. On May 14, it happened to me while I was covering violent riots along the Gaza border with Israel.

I was stuck in a field with no cell phone reception as incendiary kites flew overhead and set nearby fields on fire as they landed. Grabbing a ride out of the area with a fellow journalist who had come to cover the Great March of Return, I was finally able to reach my insurance agency, which said they could not help me.

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Sitting in a gas station near the southern community of Kfar Aza, the possibility of breaking my window with a rock crossed my mind.

It was obvious I was in a panic, asking anyone at the gas station for help.

One man approached and volunteered to help. He had all the necessary tools in the trunk of his car and would be able to open my door, he said.

Several moments later we were heading back to the burning fields outside Nahal Oz and shortly after he opened my car door, without causing any damage at all.

And at no cost.

He was part of Yedidim, a group of 8,500 volunteers around the country who are only a phone call away and are ready to help in any sort of nonlife threatening emergency.

Founded by Meir Winer during the Second Intifada in order to help people whose cars got stuck in the West Bank, Yedidim is now run by Israel Almasi of Bnei Brak.

Almasi told The Jerusalem Post that he first heard of the organization six years ago after his car got stuck at 5 a.m.

“It could happen to anyone,” he said, explaining that he took out jumper cables and attached one side to his car and waited “for an hour and a half in the rain for another car to come.

It made me realize that a situation like this could not happen again. I had everything but was just missing the connection with people to help me.”
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