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Ari Fuld and Jewish victimhood

Ari Fuld

The moment Ari Fuld was stabbed in the back Sunday morning at an Israeli mall in the West Bank, the Jewish paradigm over the millennia for dealing with oppression, pogroms and genocide was stopped dead in its tracks.

Immediately after 17-year-old Palestinian Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin allegedly shoved a knife into the back of Fuld, the 45-year-old father of four could have fallen to the ground and waited for medical help to arrive. Indeed, nobody would have accused him of cowardice if he had saved his strength to maximize his chance for survival. But Fuld wasn’t thinking of himself. And he certainly wasn’t thinking as a victim.

Fuld stayed on his feet and gave chase to the knife-wielding terrorist. As video shows, he struggled to keep his balance, but he climbed over obstacles and was eventually able to shoot and injure his attacker, preventing him from injuring or murdering others.

As the dust settled, Fuld and Jabarin lay on the ground. The Israeli was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, while the Palestinian was transported to Hadassah Medical Center. Fuld would succumb to his wounds, while Jabarin remains in moderate condition.

Fuld’s death is a tragedy. His wife is a widow and his four children have lost their dad. The fact that he died while his assailant survived cries injustice. On Sunday morning, Jabarin set out to murder Jews, only to have his life saved and to be treated for his injuries by the very people he wanted to kill. Ironic? Yes. But it exemplifies the Israeli ethos of respect for all human life, in stark contrast to Israel’s enemies that celebrate the murder of innocents. It’s a reminder of how and why there is no moral equivalency in the endless Israel/Palestinian conflict.

Fuld’s life and death illustrate how far as a people Jews have come.

Baby Boomers and Generation Xers still recall the stories their parents and grandparents told about the Holocaust. Before the Nazis, we learned about anti-Semitism in Europe and Czarist Russia. My own great-grandmother had to escape Russia through Poland after a Russian soldier tried to rape her 14-year-old daughter during a pogrom in their village. It is believed she beat the soldier to death with a cast-iron pan to save my grandmother. They fled for their lives with the clothes on their back.

Jewish history is replete with persecutions and genocides. But despite growing anti-Semitism, double standards imposed on Israel, and leftist ideologues in the United States and Europe embracing ideals that smack of anti-Semitism, the Jewish people are done running away. Today, no longer defenseless, we confront. We’re a paradox: armed and dangerous, with an abiding preference for dialogue.

It wasn’t so long ago that Jews all over the world lived in constant fear, under endless threat and oppression. And while threats against Jews remain unabated, at least in the U.S and Israel we call out and stand up to those who wish us harm.

Ari Fuld was not just a Jewish husband and father. He was an outspoken advocate for the two nations he loved and the freedom they have in common. The Queens, New York native was part of an organization that supported Israeli soldiers, and Fuld himself had served in the Israel Defense Forces with honor and distinction. His social media accounts and the English language television show he hosted made him a favorite among Jews and Zionists across the globe.

But with all his accomplishments, it’s the last moments of his life that not only tell his story, but project to the world who Jews as a people have become.

No longer do we go quietly away.

Miller is president and executive director of the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on Twitter @pauliespoint.

Read the original publishing in the NY Daily News…

 

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