JERUSLAEM — Ari Fuld, a 45-year-old father of four, and a prolific English-language social-media activist and media pundit, was killed by a 17-year-old Palestinian terrorist from the nearby town of Yatta, while standing outside the Rami Levy supermarket in Gush Etzion, which is frequented by both Arabs and Jews.
Security camera footage shows the Palestinian approaching slowly and possibly even communicating with Fuld before stabbing him multiple times. Despite being severely wounded, Fuld rose up and ran after the attacker, shooting him as other Israelis shopping in the area drew arms and rushed to the scene.
Fuld, a resident of the town of Efrat, was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in critical condition. Doctors performed resuscitation maneuvers on him but were unsuccessful.
“With a stab wound in the back, he ran, drew his gun and fired before collapsing, just to make sure the terrorist would not continue to hurt others,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett wrote on his Twitter account.
US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, noted Fuld’s dual citizenship in a tweet: “America grieves as one of its citizens was brutally murdered by a Palestinian terrorist. Ari Fuld was a passionate defender of Israel & an American patriot. He represented the best of both countries & will be deeply missed. May his family be comforted & his memory be blessed.
“My deepest condolences to the family of Ari Fuld — may his memory be blessed — who showed incredible courage and who chased after the terrorist despite his injuries,” wrote Zionist Union Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova.
“My heart is with the Etzion Bloc,” wrote Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Twitter. “My condolences to the families of the victim. We will continue to fight terrorism with an iron fist.”
Friends also took to social-media channels to mourn the loss of Fuld, who they said truly embodied his name Ari, which means “lion” in Hebrew.
“Be Ari Fulds! Don’t be afraid to say the truth!” cried Avi Abelow, executive at the popular Israel Video Network in a live Facebook broadcast from the Western Wall on Ari Fuld’s Israel Defense Page, which was viewed by hundreds of followers and filled with praise for Fuld’s record as a pro-Israel advocate.
“Our good friend, father, good Jew and incredible fighter for Israel, Ari Fuld was murdered in Gush Etzion today,” wrote Yishai Fleisher, international spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron, on Twitter.
“After being stabbed he got up and shot the terrorist but later succumbed to his wounds. We will miss him very much and ensure his legacy continues.”
Fuld’s last post to Twitter was a picture of tens of thousands of Jews praying the traditional selichot (“forgiveness”) prayers for repentance at the Western Wall just before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
A spokesperson for Hamas told the Arab Safa news outlet that the killing of Fuld was a “legitimate form of resistance” against “the Israeli occupation.”
The terrorist was transported to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in moderate condition with multiple gunshot wounds.
Thousands of people from all backgrounds gathered for Fuld’s funeral, which was held in the middle of the night, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 16-17, to the Kfar Etzion cemetery, just south of Jerusalem, to mourn the life Ari Fuld, a well-known Israel activist, husband, father of four and friend to many.
The funeral began with soft singing. The swelling crowd stood for over an hour lamenting his death through words of Jewish prayer and song. There was not a dry eye in sight.
As the singing continued, many spoke quietly amongst themselves of how Fuld had impacted their lives at different stages.
His wife Miriam spoke of her husband’s achievements in every aspect of life, adding that she was not sure how to go on without him.
“My dearest Ari, this is my last chance to say all the things that need to be said, so you better be listening,” she said. “You were a good man. I am not sure how to go on without you. We were born less than 24 hours apart and it seems that we lived our lives side by side.
“No one knew it would be cut so short this morning, on your way to do the shopping that I asked you to do.”
She lamented that Fuld was “always running toward danger instead of away from it.”
“You never backed down from a fight, because you knew you were in the right. You fought for what you believe in. You left behind a legacy for the entire world to savor.
“We always watched the news together and wondered how families and wives could be so strong. But that is what we do. We get knocked down and we get right back up, because life is a package deal and we can’t pick and chose. We must accept the good and the bad.
“Now it is my turn to be strong and continue onwards,” she said promising to take care of the family, as soft sobs were heard from her family standing next to her.
“Thank you for 24 crazy years together. I love you, I love you. I always will,” she said.
Both Ari’s father and brothers lamented that he was a larger than life hero — also calling him a “superhero.”
“If there is one word to describe my brother, it was a hero,” said his brother Moshe as his voice cracked. “Who else could manage, after 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.”
“He was a scholar like no other. His head was always in the Gemara [Talmud]. He went through those pages, like normal folk read a novel. He had a thirst for that next page, and he could not put it down for anything.
“And yet his head wasn’t in the clouds — he was the most grounded person I know,” his brother added.
His father Yonah said, “Ari was a true hero. Not only in his death but all of his life.”
“He was a giant of strength, of passion, of love for his family,” he said, adding that a parent should not be burying their child and that the situation was upside-down.
Tears continued to fall as more family members eulogized Fuld: and as his two young sons said the kaddish quiet wailing took hold of the crowd.
People held onto each other as Fuld’s body was laid to rest, a silent promise rippled through the crowd: His larger-than-life legacy will never be forgotten.
Ilanit Chernick of TPS contributed to this report.