Alumni Alumni Volunteer Trip: Ann’s Reflection

By Young Judaea

By Ann Baker Ronn, YJ Alum, Participant on the YJ Alumni Volunteer Trip in Israel, January 2024

We visited the Bedouin village of Rahat and heard an unbelievable story of Bedouin Police Officer Ramo who saved over 200 lives at the Nova Music Festival. He arrived around 6 AM for his shift (a way to make extra money for his family) and soon after he arrived hundreds of rockets started. He and a colleague took a photo in front of the festival tent saying if they survived the photo would be a memory of their morning.

When the Hamas Terrorists arrived, he witnessed 26 other officers killed, leaving only 10 police officers to assist the 3500 attendees. His regular job is a homicide detective. His car was hit by a RPG so he searched for a car that had gas and keys in it. Once he located a car with keys and gas he drove frantically to gather young people into the car.  He drove them to safety in nearby greenhouses. Each time he dropped a group, he was filled with fear as bullets and RPGs and rockets were going off above him and all around him. When he drove back to get more young festival attendees, he was in tears describing the hundreds of massacred bodies.

He is a homicide detective so he is used to seeing dead bodies. He shared that he was in shock how many dead bodies were on the grounds of the festival as well as littered along the roads. He had to drive through empty fields in order to avoid the bodies and the Hamas terrorists who were blocking the road so people could not escape. At one point he found another police officer (they both only had a handgun with them to protect themselves) & he invited the officer to join him. He said that having someone with him gave him more courage to continue returning to save the festival attendees. Each time he drove back into the chaos he told us he experienced so much fear yet continued to go back in multiple times, putting his life at risk. He showed us some videos and photos that he took during the several hours he rescued young people. There were many photos he could not share with us as they were too graphic. He shared a photo of his destroyed car and the owner of the car he found with keys in it that was full of gas so he could use it to save everyone.

Miraculously, neither Officer Rambo or the car he borrowed were hit by any bullets. After many hours of working non-stop to save Nova festival-goers he was driven home. He asked to be dropped away from his home so he could walk home and try to calm down before arriving home to be with his wife and children. His wife felt his presence and packed the children in to her car to meet him.  Inside the car there was silence other than many tears shed by Officer Ramo, his wife and his children. As you can see from the photos Officer Ramo is a small man.

When we told him he was a hero he disagreed and he said he was just doing “his job.” He has not had 1 day off since October 7 and he said he doesn’t want to take any time off to think about the trauma he experienced that day. Some people on our program tried to give him money to help his family and he told us he cannot accept money as he is a law enforcement officer. We all gathered around him taking photos and hugging him tightly.  When I hugged him, he would not let go. Office Ramo is one of the many brave Israeli citizens we met during our time in Israel.

 

For more participant reflections click here

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