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Teen Hero Given Full Scholarship to BGU after Saving the Lives of Two Young Men Wounded by a Grad Missile

Teen Hero Given Full Scholarship to BGU after Saving the Lives of Two Young Men Wounded by a Grad Missile

September 1, 2011

Medical Research, Negev Development & Community Programs

When two Grad missiles fell on Beer-Sheva on August 20, 17-year-old Arina Shestopolov Censor and her father Tslil did not hesitate.

Hearing the cries of Lior George, a student studying mechanical engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), they rushed out of their building to help, she recounted to BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi today. Carmi had just presented her with a certificate of appreciation for her efforts and a full scholarship to BGU.

Arina holds herself with assurance, possessing a poise and charisma that is uncommon for someone of her years. What is even more uncommon is that she had that same cool assurance while treating Nati Hachakur, a young man who was wounded when a Grad missile fell nearby.

Seriously injured in the attack, Hachakur would have bled to death without Arina’s jury-rigged tourniquets. She managed to save his life, despite her lack of formal training and in the midst of the havoc that followed the missile attack, including nearby fires and continued missile fire.
Tslil recalled that he thought Nati had been killed. “I moved on to Lior because I couldn’t find a pulse and his eyes were closed,” he said.

However, as Arina came sprinting out after him, she noticed Nati open his eyes. “I found some cloth and a stick and I made a tourniquet. The first two tore, but the third one held,” Arina recalled. Thanks to Arina’s efforts, Nati’s life was saved.

Arina’s only first-aid education came from a book her father had given her to read five years ago about emergency situations.

“The last time I had looked at the book I was 12, but the diagrams just floated into my mind,” she said.

Arina and her father saved Nati’s and Lior’s lives, Dr. Michael Sherf, director-general of Soroka University Medical Center confirmed.

“When Nati was brought in to the ER, we took a picture of Arina’s makeshift tourniquet. I want to use it to teach this generation how to improvise materials from what’s at hand. Without their help, Nati would not have made it,” Sherf said.

While not formally trained himself, Tslil brought Arina up to be constantly aware. “He always says ‘panic kills, and Israeli children need to be aware,’” she said.

Prof. Carmi applauded Arina and Tslil and stressed how important his lessons were.

“It should not be taken for granted that a girl with no training should be so strong, so brave and so cool under fire to do what you did,” she declared warmly to Arina.

Turning to Tslil, she said, “We cannot take our existence here for granted. Whoever chooses to live here has to take care and be aware. We have to educate our children accordingly, as well.”

Arina’s ties to BGU are longstanding. Her grandfather, Dan Censor, is a professor emeritus of electrical engineering. He and his wife Dalia, who recently retired from being a librarian at the University’s Zalman Aranne Central Library, were also present at the ceremony.

Arina is also the youngest member of Aharai, a local group run by the BGU Student Association to prepare local high school students for the Army. In addition to physical fitness training, they volunteer in the community and are involved in leadership training programs.

While Arina preferred to keep her ambitions in the IDF to a vague, “I’m aiming high,” her father proudly boasted that “she wants to be a pilot in the air force.”

And then perhaps a career in medicine? “We’ll have to wait and see,” she said.