The city council of Bnei Brak – an ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jewish enclave near Tel Aviv – is considering naming a street after Amir Khoury, the Christian-Arab police officer who died while thwarting a terror attack last week.
The would be the first time the city would name a street after a non-Jew.
Ynet quoted Gedaliah Ben Shimon – deputy mayor of Bnei Brak and a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party – saying that it is considered Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God) to pay a last respect to a fallen hero.
“It is the very least we can do to thank him,” he said.
The city is also planning to hold a special event in his memory.
Last week, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews attended 32-year-old Khoury’s afternoon funeral and many others paid their respects at Khoury’s family house in the city of Nof HaGalil, near Nazareth.
Khoury, now referred to as “hero of Israel” by many religious Jews, directly engaged with the terrorist and paid with his life after he tried to stop the Bnei Brak terror attack on Tuesday. He sped to the scene on a motorcycle along with his partner and they managed to halt the shooting spree. Four people were killed before they arrived on the scene.
Ultra-Orthodox rabbis encouraged many in the Haredi community to attend Khoury’s funeral procession. Itamar Kirshenbaum, a young Haredi man told the Israeli news outlet that he was on a bus for five hours to get to the cemetery and pay respect to “a hero” for the lives that he helped save.
Hanan Rubin, an Orthodox resident, organized bus services for religious Jews who wanted to attend the funeral.
“I understood what our picture against terrorism should like. It is not a picture of empty cafés and a frightened public – but rather a picture of unity and co-existence with people who want a real partnership,” he wrote on Facebook
“For many sectors of the religious public, it was very difficult to attend a Christian ceremony. Whether you agree with it or not – that is the reality. And here, today, we witnessed a substantial religious and Orthodox presence at Amir’s final farewell,” Rubin added.
For Ben Shimon, the terror attack was personal. He attended the funeral “on behalf of all city residents.”
“I personally owe Khoury a great debt, since he was killed exactly at the entrance to the building where my son and his family reside,” he said. “My entire family owes him a personal debt. His motorcycle was right in the doorway of my son's apartment building.”
Arab-Israeli activist Yoseph Haddad said at The Jerusalem Post London Conference on Thursday that “terrorism doesn’t discriminate between Jews and Arabs that live in Israel.”
“If you are an Israeli, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Arab – you are a target for terrorism, and that’s why we need to fight it together,” Haddad added.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.