The Ballad for the Medic is one of the most powerful songs about the IDF.
On Yom Hazikaron, IDF Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, the radio is full of songs that have to do with the army, bereavement, and memory. Many of these songs are very beautiful and some are also played on regular days throughout the year – but not this song.
Even on Yom Hazikaron it’s not often played. It’s too powerful.
In the past bereaved families complained that the song disturbed them, that it was too harsh a reminder of their story, of what happened to their loved ones.
It’s too real because it is real.
This is the story of Shlomo Epstein. He was the medic who saved the life of Yossi Haguel by shielding him with his own body.
In the video (below) Yossi Haguel describes that fateful night:
He tried to calm me by telling me that everything would be ok while treating [my wounds]. Suddenly, we hear shouts from the guys, “They’re bombing us, they’re bombing us!” The bombs began getting closer to where we were – where the wounded were being treated. It was an exposed area, and [our guys] yelled, “Take cover, take cover!” And whoever was able to get up and walk got out of there fast. I was wounded in the legs, so I couldn’t get up. That’s when Shlomo Epstein grabbed me and said, “Come on, let’s be together,” and he dragged me to the concrete wall of the shelter. I said to him, “Go, get out of here. It would be a shame for both of us to get hurt.” But he dragged me over there and lay down on me from the back, putting my face near the wall. A few seconds later, a shell fell a meter and a half away from us…
We flew into the air, and after that, I remember, it was silent. That’s what I remember. And then I hear, “Take him; he’s not in good shape,” [because] I was bleeding profusely…
When they came to get me, I said, “There’s someone else here.” They said, “There is nobody else here; just you.” I said, “I know there’s someone else – the medic who treated me.” …
There was no one there because Shlomo had been blown to smithereens.
Shlomo’s sister, Chana Epstein talks about her brother and how he loved the land, the country and helping people. His heroic act did not at all surprise his family because: “that’s just who he was.”
Remember his name.
This is a love story.