Israel's Interior Minister, Moshe Arbel, granted Israeli residency on Sunday to Molugata Tsagai, a native of Eritrea, who put his life in danger to save an injured IDF officer during Hamas's attack on Israel on October 7.
That morning, a group of Hamas terrorists in the process of invading the city of Sderot shot the officer, referred to only as Lt. Col 'Y,' who lost consciousness as he lay on the ground at the base of a ridge, bleeding from his stomach.
Minutes after he was shot, the officer regained consciousness and saw Tsagai leaning over him, stopping the bleeding and telling him, "I'm with you until the end." They stayed in that spot for two hours, as terrorists continually passed by and shot in all directions, until another citizen rescued the two in his car and took them to a hospital.
Upon release from the hospital, Lt. Col Y asked to thank the person who saved his life. He appealed to the Minister of the Interior to help Tsagai settle his status in Israel.
Interior Minister Moshe Arbel (third from left) shakes hands with Molugata Tsagai, to his right, who saved the life of Lt. Col Y, on Arbel's left, during Hamas's October 7 attack, November 26, 2023. (credit: COURTESY INTERIOR MINISTRY)
Arbel grants Tsagai residency as token of gratitude
Minister Arbel, moved by the story, granted Tsagai legal residency in Israel. "The seventh of October was a catastrophe that affected the whole country," Arbel said. "The least that can be done to show gratitude to someone who risked his life to save the life of an IDF officer is to grant him the opportunity to live here with dignity.
"Gratitude," Arbel said, "is the highest Jewish value."
Israel is home to some 30,000 refugees, around 90% of whom are seeking asylum from Eritrea or Sudan. Of those thousands, less than 1% of those refugees are recognized by the state of Israel, contributing to one of the lowest refugee acceptance rates in the Western world.
Joanie Marguiles contributed to this report.