Shlomo Alegra

Ari the Lion of the Gush

A few months ago during the evacuation of the Neighborhood of Netiv Avot I remember passing by on the bus on my way from Jerusalem to Kiryat Arba and saw the massive military and police presence of the eviction from highway 60.

Most of the last few times evictions of Jewish towns carried out by the Israeli government people always get arrested and the police are known to use force quite freely even when it is not required.

As I got home and turned on my Tablet I saw on my Facebook feed Ari Fuld filming live with his smart phone of what was happening on the ground.

I personally wouldn’t want to be anywhere near an eviction or protest such a thing because of the repercussions it could have for me in terms of getting a arrested and losing my job.

Ari was not afraid to say things how they are, as he filmed he would tell the police and soldiers that what they were doing was wrong. He was perhaps the only real coverage ever seen for the Netiv Avot Evictions.

Ari was constantly on social media and of course he was also blocked numerous times because Facebook did not agree with his content or politics.

He would go on shows numerous times making the Arab representative look silly when the Arab representative would bring up historical fact showing before 1948 there was a Palestinian soccer team which Ari corrected and said, ” all these names with Palestine on it like the Palestine- Anglo Bank and the Palestine Post were all Jewish institutions and Arabs of Israel did not adapt the name Palestinian until 1964 under Yasser Arafat’s leadership.”

I never really met Ari Fuld personally but I would see him sometimes as I passed the Gush Junction and he would give out things to soldiers guarding different posts along the junction to make their lives less miserable.

He could be seen many times walking around with his pistol and M-16 rifle as he would go about his day to day life.

He had a podcast on Israel Talk News Radio called “Bullet Proof” where he would discuss how the world would unjustly attack Israel all the time.

Ari was a paratrooper in the IDF and in Efrat he was a volunteer to the quick response team responsible to deal with a terrorist infiltration from nearby arab villages.

He was literally the last person you could think of that could succumb to a stabbing attack because he was so well trained.

After Rosh Hashanah everything was as normal as it was always with people shopping and getting ready for the holiday of Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

All of the sudden I checked Arutz Sheva and saw there had been an attack at the Gush Junction, things had been very quiet and no one would have suspected that something would happen because there hadn’t been any kind of attack for months.

As news came out later during the day it turned out that Ari Fuld had been stabbed by a seventeen year old terrorist from the Town of Yatta just outside of Hebron.

Yatta is a hotbed for terrorists with many terrorists who perpetrated attacks like the Sarona shooting two years ago came from this town.

In the CCTV footage you see Ari getting stabbed in the back and yet turns around and fights back against his attacker, as he runs after him to get a clear shot he stumbles but manages to shoot the terrorist as he ran past the falafel joint I had frequented just a few days before.

Unfortunately Ari succumbed to his wound and the terrorist even though was shot was only injured;the whole English speaking community of Gush Etzion was devastated.

Everyone including myself put several posts on our Facebook profiles to remember him and pay tribute to a life cut short by an evil terrorist.

The funeral of Ari Fuld was held quickly at Kibbutz Etzion where his wife and kids gave very touching eulogies of Ari.

His daughter who just came back from the airport must have been shocked to know her father had been murdered.

Ari’s daughter said at the eulogy her father would always say, ” If life is easy your living it wrong.”

This is something that should resonate with everyone because Hashem brought us into this world to work and bring G-d’s light to the world.

The whole world is a struggle to be able to over come obstacles Hashem puts in front of you to become a better person, if life is too easy it means Hashem is not taking an interest in you to grow.

That was Ari, he lost a friend in the army, moved to Israel in 1994 from America where he could have had a more comfortable life and made a large salary but instead sacrificed himself to live in Israel where the salaries aren’t as big and life isn’t as comfortable.

I heard recently that when he had turned 40 years old he received a letter in the mail which released him from reserve duty.

He took the letter and tore it because being a warrior meant a lot to him that he wouldn’t want to just stop serving the army after 40 years old.

Doing Reserves in the IDF is no picnic, it is a lot of intense work carrying heavy weights on ones’ back while hiking up an enormous mountain.

I am not sure I would want to keep doing Reserve duty after forty years old because you are no longer a young guy anymore who is actively going up and down mountains.

Ari was a true example of what a real Zionist is who really cared about Israel, was not afraid to tell the truth or go to evictions of Jews and tell the establishment straight out that the action they were partaking in was wrong.

After his death I wanted to know how many American news outlets would cover Ari’s demise, a quick google search revealed the only sources where Ari Fuld was mentioned were places like the Times of Israel, Arutz Sheva and Ha’aretz.

There were literally no American outlets even mentioning him, however recently it came out that the New York Times refused to publish a story about Ari Fuld because is was ” Not Fit to Print.”

As the days progressed since his death we learned that the terrorist was looking specifically for an American to target and was going to stab the lady working at the Falafel shop, if Ari wouldn’t have gone after the terrorist the lady at the Falafel shop would have been killed.

Ari left this world a hero protecting the woman from certain death as he chased after him and shot him until he succumbed to his wounds.

Many people started to do good deeds by taking on different vows to remember his memory and try to do a good deed to lift up his soul in heaven.

One man decided to give out neck coolers to soldiers all over the Gush Etzion area to soldiers just like Ari did.

He even decided to go a speaking tour in October and November in America just like Ari was going to do after the holidays were over.

One friend on Facebook even commented that all the vows and good deeds people were taking on to commemorate Ari were making her cry to see how one life affected thousands of people.

Another lone soldier living in Efrat said Ari would help him with the army, any issue he would have with the army Ari would offer to call up his commander to set the commander straight to give a lone soldier who has no family in Israel a break.

Ambassador Friedman commented that Ari was a great American who loved both Israel and America, Prime Minister Netanyahu hailed him as a hero for how he lived his life.

Many people who knew and didn’t know him mourned his loss greatly, not an eye was dry at his funeral and many people who were against Ari like Peace Now and Reform Rabbis condemned his death.

According to the Algemeiener, ” Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Union of Reform Judaism tweeted a condemnation of the cold blooded murder of Ari Fuld and that their heart go out to his many loved ones.”

A Rabbi from the Union of Reform Judaisim whose view on Judaism and political views on the State of Israel were diametrically opposed to Ari Fuld’s view showed great sympathy for this great loss to the nation of Israel.

As I check Electronic Intifada a staunchly anti-Israel Internet publication there was nothing about Ari Fuld anywhere, Fatah’s Facebook in Arabic wrote about how a settler was killed in an operation by a young man.

Fatah justified the killing of Ari Fuld since he was a Jew that just so happened to life in Gush Etzion, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the attack as a holy mission justified as a step to finish the occupation.

Efrat decided to dedicate a new area in the memory of Ari Fuld where a new neighborhood will be built in his memory, many times after a terror attack communities will build new homes and establish new settlements in memory of someone who died in a terror attack.

Building and establishing new communities to remember someone who was murdered in a terror attack is a good start to stick it to the terrorists who want to kick us out of Israel and in effect create an ethnic cleansing of Jews from our ancient homeland.

Just recently David Ha’Ivri had a Rabbi Bryan on who knew Ari back in the states he told a story on Ha’Ivri’s show that there was a time when Ari picked up a hitchhiker on highway 60 and he all the sudden realized she smelled like goats and he automatically realized she was an Arab that was trying to pass off as a Jewish woman.

He stop the car, point the gone at her and searched her, afterwards he called the police and pushed them to open up an investigation even though they initially refused but gave in because Ari refused to let the matter go.

After the investigation was done it was discovered that the young lady in question was part of a cell of Arabs who were practicing to see if they could infiltrate Jewish towns all across the West Bank.

Do you really want to avenge Ari’s death and of those who were murdered in terror attacks? My idea is simple, if you are living outside of Israel immigrate to Israel and make your life here where a Jew can truly make a difference because living in Israel, raising children here, paying taxes and increasing the Jewish presence is exactly what the terrorists don’t want.

If your a Jew already living in Israel then make an effort to come visit the West Bank once a month, perhaps make it a plan that once a month you spend Shabbat in Hebron or some other small town in Judea or Samaria and give business to the local businesses of the area to uplift the spirt of the residents living there showing you care about the Jewish presence in the biblical heartland of Israel Just like Ari cared about.

About the Author
Shlomo was born in Miami, Florida in 1989 and moved to Israel in 2012. He holds a degree from Florida Atlantic University in Political Science and served in the IDF as a combat soldier in the Netzach Yehuda Battalion. After serving in the military Shlomo studied in Yeshivat Shavie Hevron where he lived in Hebron. He now lives in Kiryat Arba, is a proud reservist in the Golani Brigade, and is a blogger for the Times of Israel.
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