Envoy thanks Pinay caregiver for saving life of elderly ward from Hamas in southern Israel

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ISRAELI Ambassador to Manila Ilan Fluss paid tribute to a Pinay caregiver for her heroism and extraordinary courage to face a Hamas militant at the height of the October 7 attacks in southern Israel.

The Filipina heroine is identified as Camille Jesalva, a caregiver from Kibbutz Nerim.

Fluss said because Jesalva had the presence of mind, she was able to convince the Hamas fighter who broke into her employer’s house to spare her and her Israeli ward, Nitza Hefetz, a 95 year-old wheelchair-bound Israeli woman.

In her Facebook post, Jesalva narrated how she survived the ordeal.

She said when a Hamas “terrorist” entered her patient’s room, “I already accepted my death and I (already) said goodbye to my family via chat.”

The Hamas fighter kept on asking for money and cellphone and searched the room for more valuables.

“Hine hine lakakat akol bevakasha (Here take all sir, please),” she told the Hamas thief in Hebrew, handing over her wallet.

The money in her wallet was worth NIS 1,500 (around P20,000), her savings, which she planned to bring back to the Philippines. She was supposed to fly home last October 9.

“I told him, ‘Lo lakakat darkon sheli ve kartis shelli adoni ani isrika ze bseder?’ [Don’t take my cards and passport sir. I need them, ok?],” she recalled.

After taking her money, the Hamas intruder left the room.

Camille, who was keeping her head down and a step behind him, still managed to say, “Toda raba adoni [Thank you, sir!].”

“And I jump[ed] to Nitza crying and shaking so much and Nitza squeezing my hands back to relax me and hugging each other back,” she wrote.

She said it was “miracle” that she and her ward survived, as she thanked God for saving them.

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Ambassador Fluss said Jesalva exemplifies the care and dedication Filipino caregivers to their Israeli employers even in the face of terror and death.

“This is an amazing story of heroism of a Filipina [who] was able to save her employer. I think it’s important for us to recognize and to really appreciate and to say thank you to her,” he said in an online news conference.

Image credits: Photo courtesy Camille F. Jesalva