A Hero, an Apologist, and a Truthseeker

Unlike many religions, Judaism does have a place in Heaven for non Jews.  Judaism does not require conversion as a prerequisite for Heaven.  Ours is a religion of merit. Anyone who merits it in the eyes of God will receive an eternal heavenly reward.  In the case of one particular non Jew, there is not a doubt in my mind that he has earned it, albeit at a very high cost. The cost of his life.

Master Sergeant Zidan Saif, age 30, a Druze from the Galilee area was shot and killed yesterday while trying to save Jewish lives. He was an Israeli cop tasked with traffic duty when unexpected events called him into action. Sergeant Saif was one of the first responders to the massacre in Har Nof. 4 innocent Jews were slaughtered yesterday by Palestinian terrorists. Officer Saif was shot during an exchange of fire with the terrorist savages who committed those atrocities. He died later of those wounds – leaving behind a wife and 4 month old daughter.

He did not see ‘Arab hating Jews’ being attacked. He saw fine human beings – innocent people – in a Shul during prayer being attacked.  And without thinking about his own safety he ran to that Shul to try and prevent any more killings. It cost him his life. May God comfort his family as they grieve over their tragic loss

His sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. Israel has honored him with thousands of people attending his funeral. As did Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin.

As reported in the Jerusalem Post Israeli Police Chief Yochanan Danino eulogized Zidan Saif saying that the officer “ran into the heart of the murderous inferno, without fear.”

“We are burying a hero of the Israel police, who laid down his own body to protect the worshippers at the synagogue in Har Nof,”


(Public Security Minister Yitzhak) Aharonovitch said in his eulogy. “Zidan was there first and operated with courage. Without hesitation he charged inside, in the face of the horrors there… “(H)is heroism cost him his life, but saved the lives of others. Zidan is a source of pride for his family, for the Druse community and for the police and the people of Israel.”

Druze serve in the Israeli army with pride. So it should not be all that surprising that one of them acted with the courage and heroism he did.

Contrast that with the predictable Arab narrative that accompanies atrocities like this. Even among supposed moderates. Like Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Mayland. He was interviewed along with Dennis Ross yesterday on Public Television’s Newshour.

After Dennis Ross blamed Palestinian leaders like  Mahmud Abbas’s for inciting violence- along with the general  demonization of Israel in the Arab world, Telhami said that if he were an Arab leader he would condemn it with ‘ no ifs and or buts’. That was followed with (you guessed it) a ‘but’:

Put that aside. But to think that what that leader’s going to say is going to be the reason why people are going to do or not do the thing, when they’re facing settlements in Jerusalem that they think are illegitimate and illegal, in comparison to what Mahmoud Abbas will say or not say, the weight here is — is in the wrong place.

I am reminded of what former ABC News anchor Peter Jennings said the day the World Trade Center was attacked: ‘Why do they hate us?’  He went on to talk about America’s foreign policy (read: support of Israel). I was appalled that a respected American TV Journalist would stoop to blaming Israel for 9/11 even in the indirect way he did!

What he did is not that different than what Talhami did. Innocent Israelis get attacked? That’s terrible. But it’s their own fault. There was not a hint of embarrassment or shame on his face. For him it was all about blaming Israel for their own troubles.

This is a typical response by even moderate Arabs. The ‘not so moderates’ on the other hand were actually dancing in the street and tweeting ‘bravo’ to the terrorist success in killing Jews!

There are however some Arabs that are embarrassed by it. Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah is one of them. He is not what I would call a turncoat or traitor to the Palestinian cause. He is a proud Arab that supports it. Here was his reaction to the massacre:

(I)f the savagery of the act was not enough of a shock, one response from a Muslim on Twitter was equally gruesome.


Responding to my tweet about the Jerusalem slaughter, he welcomed the mass murder by writing a single word, “Bravo”.


Elsewhere on social media, Palestinians in Gaza circulated cartoons using the image of the meat cleaver and knife used in the attacks, to mock the Jews.


As a Muslim who has spoken all my life for the rights of the Palestinians to a state of their own, I was left holding my head in despair and shame…


What have we become, I asked myself?

Indeed. It’s nice to see a bit of introspection on the part of an Arab that actually supports the Palestinian cause. Instead of the ‘but’ that usually follows the pro forma condemnation of atrocities. He held his head in despair. If only there were more like him and less apologists like Shibley Talhami… you never know what impact that would have on the world.

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.