BE'ER SHEVA, ISRAEL -- Jewish Agency for Israel security personnel are well trained – in their field. But one Be'er Sheva absorption center guard recently found himself fielding a brand new challenge when an Ethiopian olah went into labor on his watch.
"The new olah came to our offices right next to her apartment and called us since she was in pain," said center director Talia Artzi of 22-year-old Mabrato Yatzuvdenk, who was in her ninth month.
"We quickly realized that she was going in to labor; she was screaming, and we saw she was getting contractions," Artzi said. "That's when we called both the security guard, Benny Perach, and the emergency services, at the same time."
Benny – who has extensive first-aid training received instructions through the phone from Magen David Adom (national rescue services). Artzi elaborated: "We counted the minutes between the contractions and realized they were not far apart and that the birth was starting right there on the bench next to the office."
Since the olah was in pain and asked not to be moved, "our staff and other residents brought sheets, making a tent around her - trying to create some privacy for her; bringing a pillow for her head and holding her hand," according to Artzi.
But all went well, and "very quickly the baby was out and Benny put the new citizen on the new mother's belly as the rescue service dispatcher had instructed," the director said.
"The olim cheered and applauded Benny, the staff, and the new mother for our mutual efforts. It was a rare and very moving experience for all of us," Artzi said.
The ambulance soon arrived and ferried the mother and newborn to hospital, where they are doing well.
"I'm very proud of the staff; they were very professional in handling the event, identifying the situation and acting. The staff was so supportive and worked well," Artzi said with evident pride of her Kalisher Absorption Center staff.