'We Heard Shooting in the Shul' – Canadian Doc at Jerusalem Terror Scene

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Emergency rescue services tending to casualties at the scene of today's attack on a Jerusalem synagogue.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Joyce Morel, a Canadian immigrant and volunteer with United Hatzalah, a national emergency medical service, was one of the first doctors on the scene this morning when two terrorists entered the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof, killing four people and wounding several others.

“It was extremely upsetting to see seriously injured people just near a shul like that,” she told Haaretz. “The gentleman I tended to first still had his tefillin [phylacteries] on. There were also women there who didn’t know where their husbands were, and others who didn’t know where their father was. Those were most likely the ones killed. It was very hard to deal with, very upsetting.”

Joyce Morel.

Morel, an ultra-Orthodox physician who herself lives in Har Nof, immigrated with her husband to Israel from Toronto two years ago. They already had grown children living in the country.

A specialist in family and emergency medicine, Morel said she received notification by phone that an attack was underway just as she was beginning to say her morning prayers. “I got the call, and I ran,” she said.

The first victim she treated was a man bleeding from his head, but conscious and in stable condition; he was sitting on the sidewalk outside the synagogue.

“Just as I started checking him, the police came out and said we had to start clearing the area because there was still shooting going on,” she recounted. “We actually heard the shooting coming from inside the shul. So we ran with this gentleman to a place further away from the scene, and there we saw the police officer who was shot in the head and another gentleman who was shot in his thigh. They were stabilized and sent to the hospital from there. After that, another man was brought out who had a fractured leg from falling in the shul.”

This was not the first time that Morel has tended to victims of a terror attack: Less than two weeks ago, she was one of the United Hatzalah volunteers on the scene at the Jerusalem light-rail station, treating victims injured when a Palestinian driver rammed his van into them. Two Israelis were killed in that attack.

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