June 22, 2024
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Magen David Adom Bulletproof Ambulance to Be Dedicated to Memory of Nitai Meisels, HY”D, and Amishar Ben David, HY”D

The Meisels clan in 2023.

After sitting for over an hour with the father of First Sgt. Nitai Meisels, HY”D, who served in the elite tank unit Melech Ha’Arayot from October 7, 2023 until his tragic death on December 24, 2023, once again the portrait of a kadosh, a holy soul, emerges. His father, Eytan Meisels, has had many occasions to speak about his beloved son, whether at the levaya in Rechovot attended by thousands, or during the shiva when again thousands streamed through their home in Rechovot, including President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal; Chief Rabbi Yosef Lau and noted personalities Miriam Peretz, Sivan Rahav-Meir and Yemima Mizrachi. On Yom Hazikaron, a most painful day, Eytan spoke to an American audience on i24 TV as well as on Jewish stations in England, France and Switzerland among other European countries. Every opportunity lessens the pain just a bit as it offers a chance to immortalize the special qualities of Nitai.

In addition to speaking out about their heroic son, the Meisels family decided to establish a campaign to raise funds for a bulletproof Magen David Adom ambulance in his name, as Nitai had been an MDA volunteer from the age of 16. Older brother Aviad felt that the dedication of a bulletproof ambulance, to be stationed in the town of Eli where he resides, would be a fitting tribute. During the organization of the project, Amishar Ben David, HY”D, a young father of five from Eli, fell in battle, and thus the project expanded to include both heroes. The CEO of Israeli Friends of Magen David Adom, Orly Ariel, has been actively conducting the logistics of the campaign, which has to date raised 60% of the cost of the ambulance since the campaign’s initiation only recently after Pesach.

Nitai in the Galil.

Nitai Meisels, the fourth child of Eytan and Ayala Meisels, was born in 1993, in Baltimore, Maryland, where his father was pursuing a post-doctorate degree at Johns Hopkins. The family returned to Rechovot, where Nitai attended a mamlachti-dati elementary school and a specialized science high school, after which he studied at Yeshivat Hadarom. He attended the Mechina program Otzem in Naveh, South of Gaza, and then joined the special tank unit that is trained to precisely identify the enemy.

During the first two-and-a-half months of the war, Nitai was actively involved in protecting the residents of the yishuvim in the Gaza periphery, protecting the borders from infiltration, and then actively participating in the first groups to carry out incursions into enemy lines. The unit discovered many locations on the trail of the hostages. On December 24, Nitai’s tank was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades, killing Nitai and his commander. Fortunately, the bodies were immediately evacuated to Shura and the very next day Nitai was buried in Rechovot to the accompaniment of thousands of mourners.

Nitai snappling.

Who was Nitai Meisels? After his release from the army, Nitai established a branch of Tzofim, Scouts, in Nes Tziona, which grew from 20 to 200 participants within a few years. At his levaya, these former Tzofim gave tributes to Nitai, praising his devotion to them and passion for Eretz Yisrael, which he so effectively passed down to them.

From his many years of service to Magen David Adom, Nitai developed an expertise in first aid which he implemented by giving formal courses. In 2023 he traveled to the U.S. to train a group of U.S. Marines. He helped train NATO groups in Israel, and there is an iconic photograph of him sitting in the desert surrounded by 300 NATO soldiers, recommending nature sites around Israel to visit. Living in Beersheva, Nitai loved to visit a particular ma’ayan (well) in the area after his work day at Elbit in the technology department, where he would listen to podcasts on a variety of subjects that he would commit to his special memory. Even while serving in tanks. Nitai would offer lessons to his unit on the fundamentals of first aid. During shiva, testimonies offered by doctors, fellow soldiers and friends attested to his efforts being responsible for the protection of many lives.

Nitai with fellow soldiers.

In memorializing her beloved brother, sister Adi, who lives with her family in Kfar Saba, created a magnetized list of “10 sayings” that would have personified her brother’s formula for life.

Included among them are love of family, and friends who are like family; always ask, learn and become more educated; go out into nature in all seasons; fix things that can be fixed; always be curious; don’t complain, just do; love your neighbor, even if he is not like you. The most descriptive of the 10 was put on a bumper sticker that reads, “Do the best you can or don’t do anything at all.”

Maj. Amishar Ben David, 43, was called up on Simchat Torah and fell in battle on March 8, 2024, during the battles in Khan Yunis in the Southern Gaza Strip. He also began his career in MDA at the age of 16 and volunteered at the Tiberias station during his high school years. After his release from army service, he returned to volunteer at MDA in Eli, and was later appointed team leader.

During his regular army service, Amishar volunteered for the Maglan unit, and in the reserves served as commander in the Commando Brigade. He was a central member of the MDA team in Eli, both in providing medical response and communal support. On black Simchat Torah, Amishar decided on his own to call up his soldiers, and together they went down to join the fighting in Kfar Azza.

The Rabbi Jacob Berman Community Center on the premises of Yeshivat Hadarom houses a shul that is well-attended by the Anglo and European communities in Rechovot. Partnering with other community shuls, the IFMDA campaign has taken off beautifully in a short period of time.

The cost of a bulletproof ambulance is considerably higher than that of a regular vehicle. At a cost of $325,000, the campaign has to date raised $211,250 with a balance of $113,750 yet to fill. The crucial need for an additional 100 bulletproof ambulances for MDA is apparent.

To learn more about the Magen David Adom Campaign for a Bulletproof Ambulance in Memory of Nitai Meisels, HY”D and Amishar Ben David, HY”D, visit https://www.bermanshul.org/bulletin/parashat-emor-5784 or email [email protected]

To donate, email [email protected], visit https://bit.ly/3yq6ouh or go to the QR code provided.

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