Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, 47, who was evacuated to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, succumbed to his injuries. He leaves behind a wife and six children.
By Faygie Holt
By Faygie Holt, JNS
A member of Israel’s National Counterterrorism Unit Yamam was killed on Friday afternoon after being shot by a Palestinian terrorist in Jenin as part of maneuvers by the Israel Defense Forces that is being called a “complex and delicate” operation.
Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, 47, who was evacuated to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, succumbed to his injuries. A resident of the town of Kida in Judea and Samaria, he leaves behind a wife and six children.
On Friday morning, U.S. time, a posting on a community Facebook page included a photo of Raz with a message in Hebrew that said: “With great sorrow and great pain we mourn the death of our friend Noam Raz during operational activity in Jenin.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett released a statement saying, “We lost a hero today—a brave fighter who gave his life for the security of Israel during a complex and delicate initiated counter-terrorist operation.”
“During his 23 years in the unit, Noam had participated in countless counter-terrorist operations, risked his own life and saved lives—as his commanders attest—with courage and modesty,” the prime minister continued. “We will continue to fight terrorism with determination and an iron fist until we defeat it and restore security to the citizens of Israel. This is the legacy that Noam leaves behind. May his memory be blessed.”
Raz had also served as a volunteer paramedic with United Hatzalah for many years, serving in the Gush Shiloh area where he lived, according to a spokesman for the group.
“We are shocked and dismayed at the death of one of our volunteers, who dedicated his life to saving the lives of others,” said the group’s president and founder, Eli Beer. “It pains us to no end. We will sorely miss him. We will all try to learn from his selfless dedication to helping others and continue the work that he loved so dearly. Noam taught hundreds of other first responders, increasing their knowledge and skill. We lost a true hero today who has saved the lives of many.”
Beer added that “thousands of volunteers who make up the United Hatzalah family are mourning his loss and sharing in the pain of the family. May they know no more pain or suffering.”
Traditionally, when a member of United Hatzalah is killed while serving in the IDF, the organization provides “emotional and psychological care for those who need it, including our volunteers, but also on certain occasions, the family members of the volunteer who passed away,” said the group’s spokesperson. “We utilize our psycho-trauma and crisis-response unit, which is trained at providing psychological and emotional stabilization to those in need. Additionally, the chapter where the volunteer was active often holds a group meeting and sometimes memorials for the fallen.”
Eli Bin, director-general of Magen David Adom, called Raz’s death “tragic, both for his immediate family and the family of EMTs and paramedics of which he was a member. This was someone who dedicated his life to protecting Israelis—people of all backgrounds—both in his daytime job as a police officer and in his volunteer work as an MDA paramedic.
“Our EMTs and paramedics form strong bonds among each other from working so closely together under trying and often dangerous conditions. His loss will be felt strongly, especially among our Jerusalem team,” said Bin. “Our hearts go out to his family and to all our colleagues who had the pleasure of working with Noam.”
‘Our hearts are with his loved ones’
Jewish groups around the world also sent their condolences.
The Jewish Federations of North America tweeted that it was “deeply saddened by the death of Israeli officer Noam Raz, a father of six, who was killed … during an operation to dismantle terrorist infrastructure in the city. May his memory be for a blessing.”
While StandWithUs UK posted: “Our hearts are with his loved ones at this time. May his memory forever be a blessing.”
According to Israel Hayom IDF troops in Jenin, together with agents from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the Yamam were engaged in a heavy exchange of gunfire with terrorists.
According to a Channel 12 News report, 11 Palestinians, including Daoud Zubeidi, the brother of the infamous Palestinian terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi, were wounded in the battle. Zubeidi was one of six terrorists who escaped Gilboa Prison in northern Israel in September and was later caught following a massive manhunt.
Israel Hayom also noted that according to Palestinian reports, Israeli forces were surrounding a house in the city and two large explosions had been heard. Residents in the area of Jenin said that Israeli forces fired a projectile towards a home in an apparent effort to arrest suspects inside. Palestine TV footage showed black plumes of smoke rising from the house.
Earlier Friday, an IDF soldier shot and wounded a Palestinian terrorist who had thrown a brick at a passing Israeli vehicle near the community of Beit El in Judea and Samaria, reported Israel Hayom.
The Palestinian suspect was moderately wounded and taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for treatment. Soldiers who searched his body found a knife and a bottle of acid.
There were no Israeli casualties in the incident.