Cop killed in Har Nof attack to receive medal of honor
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Cop killed in Har Nof attack to receive medal of honor

Zidan Saif earns Medal of Distinguished Service, the nation’s 3rd-highest honor; police commissioner calls him ‘a hero’

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Police officers stand next to the coffin of Israeli police officer Zidan Saif, 30, a member of Israel's Druze minority, during his funeral in his northern home village of Yanuh-Jat, on November 19, 2014. Saif was killed during a terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue the day before. (photo credit: AFP/Jack Guez)
Police officers stand next to the coffin of Israeli police officer Zidan Saif, 30, a member of Israel's Druze minority, during his funeral in his northern home village of Yanuh-Jat, on November 19, 2014. Saif was killed during a terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue the day before. (photo credit: AFP/Jack Guez)

A policeman who was killed by gunfire in the Har Nof synagogue terror attack on November 18 will be decorated with the Medal of Distinguished Service, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino told the slain cop’s family on Wednesday.

The third-highest police honor will be bestowed posthumously on Zidan Saif by President Reuven Rivlin in a ceremony on December 16.

The honor has been granted to some 200 police officers and Border Police troops since it was created in the 1970s.

Danino paid a visit to the bereaved Saif family in the Druze town of Yanuh-Jat in northern Israel, and told them Zidan was  a “model policeman and a source of great pride to his commanders.”

Zidan Saif, the fifth victim of a terror attack at a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof. on November 18, 2014 (photo credit: courtesy)
Zidan Saif, the fifth victim of a terror attack at a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof on November 18, 2014 (photo credit: Courtesy)

“The deeper the event is examined, [the more] Zidan’s heroism stands out,” Danino said of the investigation into the incident. “He acted like a hero, and reflected, in a way that inspires respect, the values and goals of the Israel Police in maintaining order, security, and [upholding] the public quiet as a supreme value.”

Posted by ‎Israel Police – משטרת ישראל‎ on Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Footage of the synagogue attack aired by Channel 2 last month indicates that Saif — a traffic cop and one of the first to arrive at the scene — played a key role in ending the attack, firing from outside the synagogue at the terrorists inside, before one of them ran out and shot him at close range.

The two East Jerusalemite terrorists, armed with a gun, axes and meat cleavers, had been attacking and killing the Jewish worshipers at prayer for several minutes before the cops reached the scene. The clip shows that after Saif opens fire, one of the Palestinians emerges from the building, and shoots Saif from close range. The traffic cop then collapses. Saif later died of gunshot wounds to the head.

The TV report assesses that the gunman was injured by Saif’s fire. The terrorist falls down near a car, and is swiftly shot to death by the other policemen in the vicinity.

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Saif was evacuated from the scene in critical condition, and later succumbed to his wounds. Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Kalman Levine and Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg were killed inside the synagogue in the attack.

The rabbi of the synagogue eulogized Saif at his funeral for standing “like a wall” to protect the Jewish worshipers.

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