An Israeli man who sustained life-threatening stab wounds in a terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City last month was released from a Jerusalem hospital on Wednesday, vowing to reporters, “We will not be afraid.”
Gavriel Lavi, 47, said he struggled to remember the details of the stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in the capital on May 31, but believed he had been saved from death by prayers and charity given by fellow students at his yeshiva, or Jewish religious seminary.
The attack inside Damascus Gate on the morning of May 31 left Lavi critically hurt with stab wounds to the neck and head, and another person, 16-year-old Yisrael Meir Nachumberg, moderately hurt with a stab wound in the back.
The suspected terrorist, a 19-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank, was shot dead by police officers at the scene as he chased yet another victim.
“I knew I was hovering between life and death,” Lavi said at a press gathering at Shaare Zedek hospital shortly before his release. “Thanks to the charity given by my yeshiva friends, the whole situation changed for the better.”
He promised that “we continue to walk through Damascus Gate, and we will not be afraid.”
He added: “I felt God was with me. During the attack itself I wasn’t focused. The only thing I managed to say was ‘Shema Israel,'” the traditional Jewish prayer affirming God’s oneness that is meant to be recited as one approaches death.
The terror attack occurred on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a period of heightened tensions. Following the attack, police deployed additional troops around the Old City.
The Damascus Gate, on the Old City’s northwestern side, is often used by Jewish worshipers from the city’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods seeking a direct route to the Western Wall, via the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.
Jerusalem’s Old City has seen a number of stabbing attacks in recent years, but has been relatively calm in the past six months.
On December 13, two Border Police officers were stabbed and lightly wounded in a terror attack in the Old City before shooting dead their assailant, a 26-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank. A male officer was stabbed in the face, near his eye. A female border guard was stabbed in the leg.