by: Ilse Strauss
Monday, 17 September 2018 | It started out as a Sunday like any other. At the Harim Mall, a bustling open-air shopping center in the Judean hills just south of Jerusalem, Israelis were going about the normal hubbub that characterizes the first day of the week. The parking lot and sidewalks were teeming with mothers stocking up on groceries, business associates meeting at one of the restaurants, motorists filling up on gas and passersby making a quick pit-stop to grab a cup of coffee.
The terrorist struck shortly before noon, sneaking up on his target from behind and stabbing him in the back. His victim was 45-year-old Ari Fuld, who had stopped by the Harim Mall supermarket to pick up a few things for his wife. Mortally wounded, Fuld still managed to chase and shoot at his attacker before collapsing on the sidewalk. Paramedics rushed him to a Jerusalem hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Fuld leaves behind a wife and four children.
A passerby shot and wounded the terrorist, a 17-year-old Palestinian from a village near Hebron. The terrorist was taken to a different Jerusalem hospital in moderate condition.
“A 17 y/o Palestinian terrorist, brainwashed to murder Israelis since he was a child, stabbed today Ari Fuld, a father of 4, to death,” the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeted. “Although he was stabbed from behind, Ari (lion in Hebrew) fought like a lion. He chased the terrorist & shot him before collapsing. He was a hero.”
Fuld, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, made aliyah (immigration to Israel) from America in 1994 and lived with his family in Efrat, an Israeli community south of Jerusalem. Lauded by family, friends, peers and colleagues as “untouchable,” “a hero larger than life” and a “soldier to the last,” his achievements, activities, passions and contributions stand as testimony of a selfless, outstanding life.
As a young olim (immigrant) Fuld volunteered for military service in an Israel Defense Forces infantry brigade in a combat role and continued to serve as a sergeant in an elite paratroopers unit in the reserves. He was also an active member of his community’s emergency squad. With a deep love and appreciation for the young men and women who keep Israel safe, Fuld worked for Standing Together, a non-governmental organization that supports and shows gratitude to Israeli soldiers. A prominent social media and marketing consultant, Fund was a passionate and respected pro-Israel advocate, who worked tirelessly to defend the Jewish state and its right to exist by addressing communities all over the world. According to The Times of Israel, he was scheduled to embark on a speaking tour in the United States over the next few weeks and was on the verge of launching a new Israel advocacy website in English.
“Ari Fuld was a true hero,” his sister-in-law said. “He believed in the people of Israel and the land of Israel according to the Torah of Israel. He loved the land. He was an educator, a teacher, and constantly fought to show the world the truth. This morning he went shopping, and a terrorist stabbed him in the back, hitting his lung. The people of Israel and the land of Israel lost a true warrior today. His entire soul and task was to sanctify God and the people of Israel.”
Late last night, thousands of mourners gathered to bid their final farewell to the man whose exemplary life and bravery in death turned him into a national legend.
“If there is one word to describe my brother, it was a hero,” Fuld’s brother Moshe told the mourners. “Who else could manage upon sustaining a fatal [stabbing] injury, to draw his pistol, jump a fence and shoot his attacker to make sure that his attacker would not hurt anyone else; only my brother, only my brother. He was a hero in every aspect of his life.”
Fuld’s wife, Miriam, spoke of her husband’s courage and conviction. “You were always running toward danger instead of away from it. You never backed down from a fight, because you knew you were in the right. You fought for what you believe in. You left behind a legacy for the entire world to savor.”
“We always watched the news together and wondered how families and wives could be so strong,” she continued. “But that is what we do. We get knocked down and we get right back up, because life is a package deal and we can’t pick and choose. We must accept the good and the bad. Now it is my turn to be strong and continue onward.”
Fuld’s daughter, Tamar, echoed her mother’s sentiments. “One sentence my father always told me, that has stuck with me forever is, ‘If life is easy, you are living it wrong.’ Life is meant to be hard. That is what I am doing now, it will be hard, I am sure, but at least I know I am doing something right.”
As Israel mourned the brutal murder of a husband and father, the Palestinian terror organizations ruling the Gaza Strip, Hamas, rejoiced. “We welcome the stabbing attack,” Hamas said in a statement. “The attack makes it clear that our people wish to continue the Jerusalem intifada [uprising].”
Yesterday’s attack took place in the Gush Etzion region, a cluster of Israeli communities and Arab villages tucked into the rolling Judean hills. At the heart of the region lays the Gush Etzion junction. Located south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the maze of streets and highways leading from cities, communities and villages all converge in this bustling node. The Harim Mall, an extensive shopping center sporting all the modern amenities like a large supermarket, restaurants and snack bars, gas stations, beauty parlors and hardware stores, surround the intersection.
This spot is the business, commercial and tourism hub in southern Judea. In the past, the junction and shopping center became an infamous hotspot for Palestinian terror. In late 2015, the Gush Etzion Junction and Harim Mall served as the stage for one shooting attack, four stabbings, six car rammings, 15 fire bombs and nearly 200 stoning attacks in which four people died and many more were injured—all in just over eight weeks.
Thanks to heightened security, increased intelligence and various checks and initiatives, Israeli security services managed to staunch the wave of terror and restore relative peace to the area for nearly two years. In fact, according to the Israeli Security Agency website, terror attacks in Judea and Samaria have steadily decreased, and only one such attack was recorded in July and August.
Now, in the aftermath of yesterday’s attack, as Israelis mourn and the blood of the innocent once again stains the soil that witnessed too many such murders in the past, those who call Gush Etzion home hope and pray that the flood of terror has not returned to their region.
Posted on September 17, 2018
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 17, 2018.)
Photo Credit: Screenshot/Youtube/Jewish Journal
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