“They’re my soldiers… I knew I had to handle it,” Lt. Maya said, recalling the intense moments when she had no choice but to take responsibility. 

On Sunday, a terrorist carried out a deadly vehicle-ramming attack in the Armon Hanatziv area of Jerusalem, where cadets in the IDF’s Officers Training School were on a field trip. The terrorist plowed his truck into a group on the promenade, killing four young soldiers and wounding 17 others.

Lt. Maya, 22, a Haifa native and team commander of the cadets targeted in the attack, recalls:

“I got on the bus to put away some gear and get my jacket, and I was standing right at the front of the bus. From there I saw everything. The attacker drove at a very, very high speed, and drove into a big crowd of cadets who were standing shoulder-to-shoulder.”

As Lt. Maya watched the events unfold, she knew that she had to do everything in her power to stop it. As an officer, it’s her duty to protect her soldiers, and as a soldier herself, it’s her job to save lives. That means taking charge at the moment.

“I had to take responsibility. They’re my soldiers, they’re my company, and as part of that sense of responsibility, I knew I had to handle it,” she said

“I knew that it was a terror attack when he started to reverse,” she continued. “But even before that, when he drove into the crowd, I already put my magazine into my gun. When he reversed, I knew. I heard gunshots from our side, one or two bullets. I stood at the entrance of the bus, and I shot at the window of the truck, on the driver’s side. I had help from soldiers on the other side, who were handling it with a cool head.”

In seconds, it was over. Once the terrorist was neutralized, she and her fellow soldiers tended to the wounded.

Had she not been there, she stressed, her fellow soldiers undoubtedly would have done exactly the same to prevent more casualties.

“People were helping and acting from other directions, and I wasn’t alone in it for a second, I really wasn’t,” she stated.

The next day, Lt. Maya and her fellow officers returned to work.

There’s a palpable sense of grief among the cadets, but sharing their trauma with the commanders and soldiers helps them to move on. Knowing that they have each other for support helps mitigate the pain.

“I spoke to my soldiers who were injured,” Lt. Maya said. “They’re all in stable condition, and they all want to return to the course when they recover. When the commanders visited, the first thing the wounded cadets asked was, ‘Can I complete the course?’ It’s really important to them. What they’ve gone through is really hard, but they really want to come back.”

By: IDF Blog and United with Israel

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