Thousands gathered to mourn Ari Fuld
From late Sunday night into early Monday morning in Kfar Etzion, a religious kibbutz in the West Bank.
Ari Fuld, 45, left his home for a routine shopping trip and became a national legend for the way he shot a terrorist after he himself was mortally wounded near the Rami Levy supermarket in the Gush Etzion junction.
The father of four, Fuld was the grandson of a Holocaust survivor and had miraculously dodged a bullet while serving as an IDF soldier in Lebanon.
“If there is one word to describe my brother, it was a hero,” his brother Moshe told the mourners who surrounded the small chapel on the edge of the Kfar Etzion cemetery just after midnight on Monday.
“Who else could manage upon sustaining a fatal injury, to draw his pistol, jump a fence and shoot his attacker to make sure that his attacker would not hurt anyone else; only my brother, only my brother,” Moshe said.
Courage was not just something that came to him in his death, said Moshe, adding that Ari. “was a hero in every aspect of his life.”
Moshe was one of many family members who described a man of strong convictions who stood his ground against all odds. A scholar, with a sense of fun, Ari loved his family, his country and his religion.
Born in New York, Ari immigrated to Israel in 1994. The dual US-Israeli citizen lived in Efrat with his wife Miriam, and was the father of three. He served as a sergeant in an elite paratroopers unit in the IDF reserves, and also served on the Efrat emergency squad.
A well-known pro-Israel advocate his Facebook page stated: “Living the dream! I have a love for the Nation of Israel, Land of Israel and Torah of Israel.”
“Ari never did things half way, whether it was his family, his love for his country, his love for Efrat, his all encompassing religious observance, his karate, his commitment to the security team.
“He was a scholar like no other. His head was always in the Talmud. He went through those pages, like us normal folk read a novel. The thirst for that next page, he could not put it down for anything.
“He was the most grounded person I know,” Moshe said, adding that he was able to stay focused and never neglect other facets of his life. “He had the weight of the world because he put it there and yet he managed to be everything for everyone,” Moshe said.
Ari’s wife Miriam spoke of how her husband had kept the shrapnel that had lodged in his bullet proof vest while he served in Lebanon. He also kept small notebooks in which he jotted down his thoughts during his IDF service.
His wife Miriam, read some of those words, in which he spoke of the importance of courage and his prayer that G-d would let the IDF persevere over their enemies.
“I pray only that I won’t die. I hope that the fear will subside,” Miriam read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
made a surprise visit to Gush Etzion to visit the Fuld family prior to the burial.
“We are alive because of heroes like Ari. We will always remember him,” Netanyahu said adding that the embraced the family in the name of the nation of Israel.
Earlier under the night stars, teenagers gathered in the Gush Etzion parking lot to bid farewell to Fuld, a well-known social media personality and Israel advocate.
They carried Israeli flags, played guitar, sang mournful songs and placed candles on the pavement in the shape of a Star of David.
Well-known in Jewish communities around the globe, Fuld was assistant director of Standing Together, an organization that supports IDF soldiers. He was an outspoken defender of Israel in the media and online, regularly engaging with Israel’s critics through his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
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