Terror victim Ari Fuld posthumously awarded medal for shooting his stabber

Terror victim Ari Fuld posthumously awarded medal for shooting his stabber

Border guards killed by Jordanian Arab Legion in 1954 also given police commendation as new information emerges about their actions

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Ari Fuld, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist outside a West Bank shopping mall on September 16, 2018. (Facebook)
Ari Fuld, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist outside a West Bank shopping mall on September 16, 2018. (Facebook)

The Israel Police awarded a medal of honor on Tuesday to Ari Fuld, an Israeli-American who chased after and shot at the terrorist who had moments before stabbed and fatally wounded him outside a supermarket in the central West Bank two months ago.

Fuld was posthumously awarded the Medal of Distinction — the third highest award that can be granted by the Israel Police.

A resident of the Efrat settlement and father of four, Fuld was one of 54 people — police officers and civilians — to receive an official commendation on Tuesday night, at an event attended by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, outgoing Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich and President Reuven Rivlin.

On September 16, Fuld was standing outside a market near the Gush Etzion Junction in the central West Bank when 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin stabbed him in the back and neck multiple times.

“Ari — may his memory be blessed — turned around, faced the terrorist, saw the knife covered in his own blood and screamed: ‘Terrorist! Terrorist!'” the police said in a statement.

“He pushed the terrorist back and fought with him. When the terrorist fled, despite his critical injuries, Ari chased after the terrorist with the last of his strength and managed to shoot him with his handgun before collapsing to the ground,” according to the police.

Police officers and their families who received awards and commendations from the Israel Police pose with President Reuven Rivlin, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on November 6, 2018. (Israel Police)

In the description of the attack, the police credit Fuld with preventing additional casualties by shooting Jabarin, who had run toward an employee of the shopping center.

“I am proud of these wonderful and incredible people: border guards Israel Police officers and resourceful civilians, including Ari Fuld — may God avenge his death — who fought with a despicable terrorist until his last breath. Unfortunately it is in these extraordinary incidents that we learn the most about [Fuld],” Erdan said at the award ceremony.

The public security minister had last month called for the police to consider granting Fuld the award for his actions in the terror attack.

Security camera footage of the shopping center shows Fuld, after having been stabbed and with blood pouring down his back, chasing and shooting at Jabarin. He then collapsed to the ground.

Fuld was rushed to a Jerusalem hospital, but was declared dead shortly after. Jabarin was taken to the hospital in moderate condition and arrested.

כשהוא פצוע ומדמם: כך הציל ארי פולד עובדת בחנות מדקירת המחבל

כשהוא פצוע ומדמם: כך הציל ארי פולד עובדת בחנות מדקירת המחבל • לתיעוד המלא שהביאו Yossi Eli ושי שפיגלמן ולריאיון של Almaz Mangisto עם אלמנת הנרצח >> https://www.10.tv/news/172564

Posted by ‎חדשות 10‎ on Monday, 17 September 2018

“Ari Fuld demonstrated supreme heroism and fearlessness when in his final moments he chased after the terrorist who had fatally stabbed him, neutralized him and in so doing saved the lives of other civilians,” Erdan wrote in his recommendation to Alsheich last month.

Erdan, who is also the strategic affairs minister, said that Fuld had also dedicated his life to defending Israel by combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“In addition to his actions in the battlefield, Ari also fought for the State of Israel in the international arena and was part of a network of information activists we established to show the world the truth about Israel and to expose the lies of those who boycott Israel,” Erdan wrote. “Ari is an example and a model to us all and we should commend him for it.”

Fuld was a well-known Israel advocate and right-wing activist. His killing pierced the community of pro-Israel advocacy, and activists recalled him as a dogged supporter of the Jewish state.

Hila Peretz, a falafel shop worker, on September 17, 2018 says Ari Fuld saved her life in a terror attack at the Gush Etzion junction a day earlier. (screen capture: Channel 10)

After the attack, falafel shop worker Hila Peretz said she saw Jabarin fatally stab Fuld outside the shop a few minutes after she served the Palestinian teenager. Jabarin then began to run toward her with the knife drawn. She ran for her life, shouting “terrorist,” she said.

“The terrorist was right behind me,” she recalled. “I started running down the stairs but he jumped to try to get in front of me. The man who was killed really saved my life.”

She added of Fuld: “He’s not just a hero. He gave his life for me.”

In addition to Fuld, many other police officers and civilians who responded to terror attacks in recent years received either medals or official commendation from Alsheich, as did two border guards for their actions during a 1954 attack by the Jordanian Arab Legion.

Tuvia Wolfsthal and Meshulam Bar Natan were awarded the Medal of Distinction. Bar Natan was in command of a border guard unit that came under attack by the Arab Legion near the then-border with Jordan near Jerusalem.

The families of two border guards who were killed by the Jordanian Arab Legion in 1954 receive awards on their behalf from the Israel Police on November 6, 2018. (Israel Police)

Bar Natan was injured as he provided cover to the other border guards whom he ordered to retreat. Wolfsthal, the unit’s medic, rushed to help him despite heavy fire from the Jordanians.

The two were pinned down by the Jordanian fire and eventually killed by the Arab Legion troops.

Information about their actions was not well known until recently, owing to a joint investigation by the Border Police’s history unit and the Border Police Heritage Center.

The medals were awarded to surviving members of Wolfsthal’s and Bar Natan’s families.

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