Ari Fuld died as he lived. He was a robust man of courage with inner and outer strength. So when 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin of Yatta, a village south of Hebron, stabbed him in the back outside the Rami Levy supermarket in Gush Etzion on Sunday morning, it is no surprise that Fuld immediately got back up and started chasing him, drawing his personal handgun at the same time and firing off a shot, wounding the terrorist before collapsing and succumbing to his own wounds.
Fuld, a 45-year-old father of four, was a resident of Efrat. He was a sergeant in an Israel Defense Forces’ reserves elite paratroopers unit and was the assistant director of Standing Together, an organization that supports IDF soldiers.
Fuld was deeply observant and could often be seen with his nose buried deep in a religious text of some sort. His Facebook feed is full of videos in which he extols the virtues of living in the Holy Land, explains the meaning of prayers and proudly glorifies the uniqueness of Judaism. Just last Friday, he held a live-feed Torah class from his dining-room table, attended online by more than 100 participants.
He was also known for his physique. He had a black belt in karate, and used to run a self-defense class for both adults and children. As part of his deep dedication to protecting his fellow citizens, he also served as a member of Efrat’s first-response anti-terror team, and was frequently seen carrying the M-16 he used while on patrol.
Fuld was a passionate man. He was passionate about religion, and he was passionate about the State of Israel. He became more visibly active as a pro-Israel advocate, and he would often post videos on social networks, where he could be seen challenging TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron) officials or challenging former head of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer on TV.
When it came to Israel advocacy, Fuld defended the truth with veracity. He enjoyed confrontation and never shied away from trying to make his point. He would confront anti-Israel activists, challenging them to explain their views in a rational and logical way. When they failed (and they often did) he would politely, but triumphantly declare himself the winner of the conversation.
Josh Hasten, international spokesman for Gush Etzion and a friend of Fuld’s, told JNS that “Ari did so much for so many, whether it was for soldiers around the country or neighbors in Efrat. He was on the front line in two aspects. Physically, whether on the first-responders’ team or driving all over the country for hours to give soldiers care packages for the holidays.”
“The second aspect,” Hasten continued, “was his involvement in spreading the truth about Israel to the world. He was always sharing the beauty of the land of Israel. I always thought he was atoning for the [biblical] sin of the spies [who gave a negative report about the land]. He would spend Thursday nights on Facebook Live in the Old City showing people visiting the Western Wall.
“He was a light unto the nations, showcasing the beauty of this country and getting out the truth. That was his legacy. This is a huge loss.”
Those who knew Fuld think of “how the mighty have fallen.” He was a devout adherent to the laws of Judaism, he studied hard, and he fearlessly defended Israel and the Jewish nation against those he perceived to be fighting against Jewish values. They would argue their points, but he would not acquiesce. He held anti-Israel activists and foreign governments accountable for their support of Palestinian terrorism and spreading falsehoods about the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In a Facebook post from a few years ago that he re-posted just days ago, Fuld wrote, “The only person who would be nervous about my guns are the terrorists who are looking to murder my people and to them I say, be nervous and be scared! We, as Jews, should NEVER apologize for our ability to fight back and defend ourselves.”
For him to die the way he did is so very poignant. The Jewish nation and the community of Efrat in general, as well as his wife and four children in particular, have lost a husband, father and a great defender of the truth.
May his memory be for blessing.
Israel Kasnett is a reporter for the Jewish News Syndicate.