Just days ago, in the spirit of Rosh Hashana, I wrote an upbeat posting.
But that upbeat mood did not last. Could not, perhaps. Just as there is joy at holiday time, we here in Israel contend with the increased desire of our enemies to do us harm as we prepare to celebrate.
At about 11 AM this morning, Ari Fuld, 45, loving husband and father of four children, was outside Canyon Harim – a shopping mall at the Gush Etzion Junction, near Efrat the city where he lived – when he was set upon from behind by a young Palestinian Arab and severely knifed.
outside a shopping mall near Efrat, at the Gush Etzion Junction
In spite of his serious injury, he pursued his attacker, and shot him multiple times before collapsing. For this courageous act he is being widely saluted: he prevented the terrorist from attacking others. He was then brought to the hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.
Ari, who was an American-born Israeli, is being praised in many quarters by those who knew him, loved him, and now deeply mourn him. One group described him as being a most articulate and unapologetic lover of Israel. He worked at Standing Together, an NGO that provides support to Israeli soldiers. He was a first-responder, trained to rush to the scene in medical emergencies, and he also saw himself as a passionate advocate for Israel world-wide.
Tonight the Fuld family received visits from Prime Minister Netanyahu, MKs Naftali Bennett and Bezalel Smotrich (both Habayit Hayehudi). All praised Ari as a hero.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman issued a statement on learning of Fuld’s death:
“America grieves as one of its citizens was brutally murdered by a Palestinian terrorist.
“Ari Fuld was a passionate defender of Israel and an American patriot. He represented the best of both countries and will be deeply missed.”
May the Fuld family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.
And may the Almighty avenge Ari’s blood!
This evening, less than 10 hours after he died, over 200 youth of Gush Etzion and neighboring regions, in coordination with the Gush municipality, gathered at the very spot where he was attacked to express their outrage and grief.
“We are full of life, gathering deliberately on the spot of today’s brutal murderous terror attack to send a clear message to our enemies, that we are not going anywhere!”
declared Mayor Shlomo Ne’eman.
There you have it: our strength and our future on the land!
And the terrorist? I first read that he was “neutralized.” I hate that term. It means he was out of action and able to do no further harm, but does not provide sufficient information. I had hoped it meant he was dead. Subsequently, I was disappointed to learn that it meant he was wounded, and is now in custody.
He is from the Palestinian Authority village of Yatta, not far from Hevron. Ah! Yatta. Those of us who track terrorist events here know of it well: it is a Hamas stronghold.
Then there is the violence that took place at the Gaza fence over the last couple of days. I cannot tell you if it has intensified once again because it is right before Yom Kippur, or because this means that the “deal” for a ceasefire is not going as Hamas had hoped. I can only tell you that it is not good.
According to one report, the count was as high as 13,000 rioters in six different locations along the fence on Friday. Rioters threw Molotov cocktails, rocks, and at least two grenades at Israeli soldiers.
The IDF utilized crowd-control procedures, and additionally responded to the grenade attacks with tank fire and air strikes.
In nine instances, Gazans attempted to breach the fence and then ran back.
Two fires were set by incendiary devices.
As to those incendiary devices, they are a tragedy waiting to happen. In Efrat before the beginning of Shabbat, a two-year old found an incendiary balloon that had been launched.
Motzi Shabbat (Saturday night) there were some 500 Arabs near the fence, attempting to target the IDF with additional rocks, grenades, a pipe bomb and a Molotov cocktail.
But we will survive all of this, as we always do, strong in our determination to continue. There is no other way for us.
Even tonight, with the pain fresh, Ari Fuld’s parents said, “We understand that we must go on.”
Yom Kippur, the holiest day on our calendar, begins as the sun goes down on Tuesday. I had not expected to do a posting today, but I knew I had to.
There is a great deal more to write about, which will follow in due course.
May the Almighty bless us with strength and peace in the coming year. And may we be sealed in the book of life.