Ari Fuld, a 45-year-old American-Israeli was murdered Sunday morning in a stabbing attack outside of a mall at a major intersection in Gush Etzion, approximately 20 miles south of Jerusalem. After being stabbed, Fuld managed to pursue and shoot the terrorist, moderately wounding him.
His final actions protected the many bystanders who were present at the scene. He was rushed to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in unstable condition where he succumbed to his wounds.
The Hebrew word “Ari” means “lion,” and friends and colleagues described him as a powerful Lion of Judah.
Fuld was a sergeant in an IDF reserves elite paratroopers unit and the assistant director of Standing Together, an organization that supports IDF soldiers. After being stabbed, Fuld managed to fight back and chase his attacker, shooting him three times before collapsing.
Fuld was well known for his powerful efforts advocating for Israel and was a dear friend to many at Israel 365/Breaking Israel News.
As an intro on his Facebook page, he stated simply, “Living the dream! I have a love for the Nation of Israel, Land of Israel and Torah of Israel.” Those who knew him, knew that he truly embodied this sentiment. His last video, posted just before Shabbat, illustrates this passion.
Avi Abelow, founder and CEO of 12TribeFilms, was a childhood friend of Fuld’s and remembers him as a man of proof.
“I merited learning in elementary school with Ari,” Abelow told Breaking Israel News. “We reconnected when I moved to Israel. We sat next to each other in shul (synagogue).”
“You can’t talk about Ari without talking about Israel,” said Abelow. “We worked on projects together, advocating for Israel. He was passionate about Israel and he was passionate about the truth. He wasn’t afraid to go anywhere and speak the truth. When he was at the Kotel (Western Wall), he would point at the gold dome and say, ‘You built that on top of our Temple. You are the occupiers and we, the Jews, are indigenous, the real baalei bayit (masters of the home).”
Abelow was proud of all his childhood friend did to protect Israel, emphasizing that his army service was a labor of love.
“Ari didn’t have to do reserve duty anymore but he volunteered whenever he could,” Abelow said. “He operated the FN Mag .762 machine gun which meant he carried the heaviest load. He never complained. He was happy to be protecting the people of Israel.”
Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder and CEO of Israel365, was one of Fuld’s many personal friends.
“With the horrific murder of Ari Fuld, the curse of terrorism has really struck close to home for me personally,” said Weisz. “Ari was a dear friend, an articulate advocate for Israel and just an amazing person to be around. My relationship to the Fuld family goes back 20 years when I was studying in Yeshiva as a student of Ari’s father, Rabbi Yonah Fuld.”
“My heart breaks for Rabbi Fuld, Ari’s wife, Miriam, and their four precious children and the entire Fuld family. As Ari’s brother Hillel wrote, ‘He lived as a hero and died as a hero.’”
David HaIvri, an independent political strategist and another one of Fuld’s friends, said that Fuld was not a soldier because he hated Arabs – he didn’t hate. Neither was he a soldier because he loved action or guns.
“Ari was a soldier because he loved Israel,” said HaIvri. “He lived in Gush Etzion where Jews and Arabs live side-by-side. He believed in coexistence but not in the manner politics promotes coexistence. Ari was a man of truth. To do this, to live by these beliefs, you need to be strong, you need to be a gibor (hero) and Ari was.”
Breaking Israel News reporter Eliana Rudee recently toured the Shomron (Samaria) with Fuld and was deeply affected by his infectious passion for the land of Israel.
“Ari spoke with passion about his love for Israel and for the Jewish people,” Rudee said. “He shared it with others – it seemed completely natural for him – and his love was truly contagious.”
Rudee was moved by Fuld’s ability to speak frankly, never afraid to voice his opinions and share his experiences.
During Fuld’s tour of the Shomron, the group visited a factory where Palestinians and Israelis work together.
“This is what peace looks like,” Fuld told Rudee. “Today, Ari was murdered by a Palestinian at the Gush Etzion junction. Ari carried a gun and I remember him speaking about how he never wanted to need to use it, but if and when he had to, he would risk his own life to protect others. Today, that is exactly what he did.”
Though every terror attack is a tragedy of immeasurable proportions, Fuld’s murder generated an immediate reaction in the political realm.
David Friedman, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, reacted strongly to the news of the murder, counting Fuld as one of America’s own.
“America grieves as one of its citizens was brutally murdered by a Palestinian terrorist,” Friedman said. “Ari Fuld was a passionate defender of Israel and an American patriot. He represented the best of both countries and will be deeply missed. May his family be comforted and his memory be blessed.”
“The attack was an outrageous act of terrorism, which should be loudly condemned by all,” former United States ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said.
Member of Knesset Anat Berko (Likud) expressed her deep sorrow over Fuld’s murder, calling for the destruction of the terrorist’s house and the arming of Israelis.
“The late Ari Fuld fell like a hero and with the last of his forces, he worked to neutralize the lowly terrorist,” Berko said, “More proof why civilians who meet the criteria should be allowed to carry personal weapons. This murder attack must end with the destruction of the terrorist’s house immediately.”