Thousands of mourners gathered in the West Bank settlement of Kfar Etzion late Sunday and early Monday for the midnight funeral of a resident killed in a terror attack, remembering him as a hero who fought for Israel.
Fuld, a 45-year-old father of four from the Efrat settlement, was stabbed to death shortly before noon on Sunday by a Palestinian teenager outside the Harim Mall at the Etzion junction. Despite his wounds, Fuld chased and shot at his attacker, preventing further casualties in the attack, before collapsing to the ground. He was rushed to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
“You were a good man. I’m not sure how to go on without you. You were always running towards danger instead of away from it and you never backed down from a fight because you knew you were in the right,” his wife Miriam Fuld said. “You fought for what you believed in. You’ve left behind a legacy for the entire world to savor, videos and stories that we will be telling for many years to come.”
Fulds family recalled him as a larger than life hero, both for his pro-Israel advocacy and his commitment to his family and the country.
“He was a true hero. Not only in his death, but all of his life,” his father Rabbi Yonah Fuld eulogized at the funeral. “He was a giant of strength, of passion, of love for his family. … he was a hero to all.”
The US-born Fuld was a well known Israel advocate and right-wing activist. His killing pierced the community of pro-Israel advocates and other online activists, who recalled him as relentless and unstinting in his support for the Jewish state. The killing also brought widespread condemnation from across the political sphere, including those on the political left with whom he often sparred online or on television.
“You fought evil and lies not only with physical strength in your body, but with you mouth, your neshama (soul) and your mind, no holds barred, no fear,” his brother Doni Fuld said, calling him a “superhero.”
Fuld’s father said the family had received tens of thousands of messages of support from all over the world, including Saudi Arabia.
“He gave his life to sanctify God, to sanctify the land. If you would have asked him, that’s way he would have said he wanted to go,” Yonah Fuld said.
A number of ministers and politicians attended the funeral, and paid condolence visits to the family during the day. Despite the late hour, thousands of people, some waving Israeli flags, crowded into the cemetery in the settlement south of Jerusalem for the burial.
“I’ve met the parents and wonderful brothers of this hero of Israel, Ari Fuld,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet after visiting the family before the funeral. “I embraced them in the name of the entire nation in this time of terrible grief. We are alive thanks to heroes like Ari. We will remember him forever.”
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 volunteered for military service in an IDF infantry brigade in a combat role, then served as a reservist. He was lightly injured in the Second Lebanon War.
He was a prominent member of the National Union party, including serving 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.
In a statement, the National Union party eulogized Fuld as a “lover of the land who fought for it, a man of truth, caring and kind. He advocated for the land of Israel with all his might, in Israel and around the world.”
He 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.
The terrorist, identified as Halil Yousef Ali Jabarin, aged 17, from the southern West Bank village of Yatta, was shot by Fuld and another armed civilian at the scene and taken to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in moderate condition with multiple gunshot wounds, hospital officials said.
Security camera footage from the scene of the deadly attack showed the Palestinian terrorist, dressed in black, standing behind Fuld for nearly a full minute before striking.
The Gush Etzion Junction and nearby shopping area, which are used by both Israelis and Palestinians, have been the site of several deadly terror attacks in recent years.