Shirin Muhammad Salamin, a 27 year old woman from a Palestinian village south of Jericho is happy but exhausted as she recuperates from giving birth to a son in the Hadassah-Ein Kerem maternity ward in Jerusalem, as her experience was quite different from the typical Israeli.

She says, “I went to bed in a bit of pain, which progressively got worse and until about 11 pm, when we realized I was in labor. My family called an ambulance, but they couldn’t reach us because our house is located on a mountain top. It was also raining at the time. We called an Israeli ambulance and they couldn’t reach us either. After waiting a bit longer, we decided that we couldn’t wait any longer and my family took me by car to the road where we met the army ambulance.”

“I was alone in the ambulance with the soldiers and a medic – my mother and rest of the family did not come along. I was terrified. But the soldiers kept reassuring me the entire time. When I felt my son come out, the soldiers put a blanket over me and helped me finish giving birth. When he came out, they smiled and gave him to me to calm down. They let me feed the baby too.”

The IDF reported the birth and added that the baby had some breathing problems, at which point the baby and Salamin were flown to Ein Kerem via a military helicopter once the infant had been resuscitated and stabilized. Both are doing well.

Shirin said that even though there was a considerable language barrier, she was able to communicate with the soldiers quite easily. “They were calm and spoke to us calmly, which kept us calm as well.” She would like to meet those soldiers who helped her in order to thank them and “wish them health.”

Gilad Nesher, one of the paramedics who treated Shirin and her newborn son, said “There is a great deal of satisfaction in giving life”, and acknowledged his role in the successful birth.