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Defense minister helps talk man out of jumping from balcony in suicide standoff

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant helped talk a man out of killing himself this week after the man threatened to end his life if he were not allowed to speak with the senior cabinet member.

The hours-long incident began Monday in the northern city of Hadera, where a man, 28, threatened to throw himself off the sixth-story balcony of a building.

Video showed the man clinging to the outside of the balcony railings, with Israel Police maintaining a perimeter around the building.

Initially, the man demanded to speak with an IDF official, for reasons that were not publicized, according to  Hebrew media outlets.

Police Superintendent Itzik Gabai pretended to be a representative of the IDF, even donning an IDF uniform to speak to the man, but was unable to resolve the issue.

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At that point, the man demanded to speak with Gallant.

ניסיון לקפוץ מהמרפסת, בעיר חדרה.

— מה חדש.❓ (@Gloz111) September 4, 2023

The defense minister was at the time involved in talks on security issues, Channel 12 reported, but nevertheless took the call. Shortly after he did so, the man went back inside and agreed to end the impasse.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks at an award ceremony for outstanding officers, at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, September 3, 2023. (Shahar Yorman/ Defense Ministry

In another video of the closing stages of the incident, a member of the security forces, apparently Gabai, can be seen perched outside the balcony on a crane, talking to the man who by then had seemingly agreed to walk back his threat. Gallant was still on the phone at that time and at one point the man walks over to the security officer, who is holding the phone, and speaks with Gallant.

“It’s okay, Yoav,” the man is heard telling the minister. “Everything will be okay.”

“Thank you, Yoav,” the security officer says into the phone.

The security officer is then seen climbing onto the balcony and embracing the man, who hugs him back.