Ari Fuld, the American Israeli man who was stabbed to death in a terror attack on Sunday, was mourned in an outpouring of social media tributes throughout the day, with friends and ideological opponents alike eulogizing the Israel advocate and former karate instructor as an unflinching champion of the Jewish state and fearless fighter to the end.
Fuld, a 45-year-old American-Israeli father of four from the Efrat settlement, was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian terrorist shortly before noon on Sunday outside a shopping mall at the nearby Gush Etzion Junction. Despite his wounds, Fuld pursued and shot his attacker before collapsing to the ground.
Fuld was rushed to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious condition. After resuscitation efforts failed, doctors there pronounced his death.
He will be buried on Sunday night at 11:30 p.m. in the Kfar Etzion cemetery.
In a short online message, Hillel Fuld hailed his older brother as a hero.
“He lived as a hero and died as a hero. My big bro is gone,” he wrote. “Thanks for the messages. Really. Just looking for oxygen now…”
He lived as a hero and died as a hero. My big bro is gone.
Thanks for the messages. Really. Just looking for oxygen now…https://t.co/uupt1nQGIP
— Hillel Fuld (@HilzFuld) September 16, 2018
Fuld worked at Standing Together, a non-governmental organization that provides support to Israeli soldiers. He also described himself on his website as an “advocate for Israel, [who] speaks to communities throughout the globe.”
Fuld was well known for his social media posts defending Israel and its military. He was scheduled to leave in the coming weeks on a speaking tour in the United States. In addition, he reportedly was about to launch a new Israel advocacy website in English.
His sister-in-law Shoshanna, in an online Hebrew-language video, praised him for his love of Israel.
“Ari Fuld was a true hero. He believed in the people of Israel and the land of Israel according to the Torah of Israel,” she said. “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. Later he died of his wounds,” she said. “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.”
Former IDF spokesman Peter Lerner called Fuld a “true patriot, friend and Israel advocate.”
Heartbroken by the news of the murder of a true patriot, friend & Israel advocate Ari Fuld, in Gush Etzion this morning. Ari was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist and succumbed to his wounds. Thoughts are with the Fuld clan and especially his brother @HilzFuld pic.twitter.com/eEUbnR1pMJ
— LTC (R) Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) September 16, 2018
Richard Kemp, a retired British Army officer and pro-Israel advocate, praised Fuld as “a soldier to the last.”
Very sorry to hear that my friend and IDF Paratrooper Ari Fuld was murdered today in Gush Etzion. A soldier to the last he shot the Islamic terrorist that stabbed him in the back before succumbing to his wounds. pic.twitter.com/rWapRflwEr
— Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ (@COLRICHARDKEMP) September 16, 2018
“A soldier to the last he shot the Islamic terrorist that stabbed him in the back before succumbing to his wounds,” he tweeted.
Fuld, a former martial arts teacher, was also fondly remembered by his former students as “untouchable” and “larger than life.”
“When I heard that Ari Fuld was the victim of a terror attack, I immediately knew that he was stabbed in the back,” wrote Yoni Friedman on Facebook. “There was no other way it could have been done; I’ve seen Ari teach hundreds of students how to disarm and completely dismantle a terrorist with a knife. The man was untouchable.”
When I heard that Ari Fuld was the victim of a terror attack, I immediately knew that he was stabbed in the back.There…
Fuld’s killing pierced the community of pro-Israel advocates and other online activists, who recalled him as dogged in his support for the Jewish state.
Journalist and political consultant Annika H Rothstein described Fuld as “a lion, soldier of Israel and a man who was always the first to support his fellow Jews around the world, be it practically or spiritually.”
I am in shock, learning that the victim of today's deadly stabbing attack was my friend Ari Fuld, Z'l. What a loss of a lion, soldier of Israel and a man who was always the first to support his fellow Jews around the world, be it practically or spiritually. Baruch Dayan Haemet https://t.co/I0UZMpk3lw
— Annika H Rothstein (@truthandfiction) September 16, 2018
Laura Ben-David wrote that she “disagreed often and publicly” with Fuld. But, she added, “I know it was only his incredibly deep caring for Israel and the Jewish people that made him so determined.”
We are all in a state of shock. A true warrior for Israel, someone who epitomized strength and bravery, has somehow,…
Activist Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll said she was “utterly devastated” by the news.
“I argued with Ari, but, I also laughed with him,” she wrote on Facebook. “I shared his passion for Israel, for helping agunot [women who are denied a religious divorce by their husbands], and for family. We had numerous chats on these topics and while he could be tough online, he was a real mensch one on one.”
I argued with Ari, but, I also laughed with him. I shared his passion for Israel, for helping agunot, and for family. We…
Fuld’s killing was also condemned by left-wing activists.
“I am totally shocked, sad, and dismayed, also on a personal level,” wrote Yariv Oppenheimer, the former director of Peace Now. “I met Ari on the Israeli Frenemies program we co-hosted on ILTV. A real ideologue, who believed in his path. I am so sad for him and his family.”
Noor Dahri, a Muslim counter-terrorism activist, also expressed shock at the news.
“Oh my Allah, I can’t believe the news, my Facebook friend, whom I chatted last month Ari Fuld, an Israeli hero, is no more with us,” he wrote.
????Oh my Allah, I can’t believe the news, my Facebook friend, whom I chatted last month Ari Fuld, an Israeli hero, is no…
Settler spokesman Josh Hasten, who said he had known Fuld for about a decade, said his friend traveled widely to showcase “the beauty and reality of life” in the country.
He delivered care packages to Israeli soldiers and would go on solidarity trips to communities near the Gaza Strip during times of fighting with the Hamas terrorist group, Hasten said.
“When the rockets were falling, that’s when he would get in his car and go down to Sderot,” Hasten said.
The Palestinian stabber was identified as Halil Yousef Ali Jabarin, aged 17, from the southern West Bank village of Yatta.
According to police, the terrorist was shot by Fuld and another armed civilian at the scene. He was taken to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in moderate condition with multiple gunshot wounds, hospital officials said.
Fuld was also a prominent member of the National Union party, and served on its Central Committee. National Union is part of the Jewish Home faction in the Knesset. Ari’s brother Eitan is the spokesman for Jewish Home MK Betzalel Smotrich.
JTA, AP contributed to this report.