Weaving Baskets and Wielding Weapons

June 4, 2024

The Biblical and Modern Day Heroes who Protect of the Holy Temple

Jerusalem Day is a time of reflection and celebration, marking the reunification of our eternal capital. As we gather to honor this historic day, we also pay tribute to the heroes who have safeguarded Jerusalem’s sacred walls against adversity and terrorism. These ancient walls, echoing the prayers and dreams of countless generations, symbolize the unbreakable bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. Among the many defenders of this holy city, two figures stand out for their unwavering dedication: Ari Fuld, a modern-day warrior who gave his life for the land and people he cherished, and Nehemiah, the biblical leader who rebuilt Jerusalem’s walls and restored the Second Holy Temple amid relentless opposition.

Nehemiah epitomized leadership and determination in his time. Here was a man appointed as the governor of Judah, tasked with the monumental challenge of rebuilding not only the walls of Jerusalem but also the Holy Temple after the Babylonian conquest had left it in ruins. Nehemiah understood that his mission was about more than just physical reconstruction; it was about restoring the spiritual center of the Jewish people and the confidence of those who had returned from exile, even as their enemies sought to thwart their efforts at every turn.

There’s a passage in Nehemiah that never fails to inspire me:

Nehemiah’s courage to rally his people to rebuild their city and sacred Temple, despite the challenges and threats they faced, is truly remarkable. Nehemiah was a true leader, balancing the roles of builder and protector with grace and strength.

Now, fast forward to modern times and meet Ari Fuld – a man who, in my opinion, embodied the same qualities as Nehemiah. Born in New York to RAri made aliyah to Israel in 1991 at the age of 17. After studying in Yeshiva, Ari served in the IDF’s Golani Brigades and elite Paratrooper unit. Ari’s life was dedicated to the service and protection of Israel and the Jewish people, both physically and spiritually.

As a passionate advocate for Jewish rights, Ari worked tirelessly to promote Jewish access and prayer at the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Despite the political tensions and constant threat of Muslim terrorist violence, Ari remained undeterred in his mission to connect Jews with their ancient history and heritage. He regularly visited the Temple Mount to pray and inspired others to assert their spiritual connection to this sacred place, even in the face of opposition and threats.

Ari’s dedication extended beyond the Temple Mount to Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of Israel. He firmly believed in the Jewish people’s right to live and thrive in these regions, which are deeply rooted in Jewish history and heritage. Ari often led tours in Judea and Samaria, sharing his knowledge and love for the land with others, echoing Nehemiah’s efforts to resettle and strengthen the Jewish presence in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.

In addition to his activism, Ari was a devoted teacher and mentor. He taught in numerous gap-year yeshivas, sharing his wisdom and passion for Torah with the next generation. His passion for teaching knew no limits. Ari even was known to give midnight tours in the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron, connecting people with the living history of the Jewish people. 24 hours of the day!

Tragically, Ari’s life was cut short on September 16, 2018, when a Palestinian terrorist stabbed him in a brutal act of violence. But even in his final moments, Ari demonstrated the same bravery and instinct to protect others that he had shown throughout his life. Despite his severe wounds, he managed to chase down and neutralize his attacker, preventing further harm to other innocent civilians. It’s a testament to Ari’s character and his unwavering commitment to the safety of his people, even in the face of unimaginable danger.

In Nehemiah 4, we see the same dedication and vigilance of those rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem:

This verse demonstrates the constant readiness to defend their work and their people, even as they labored to rebuild, knowing that the threat of attack was always present. Similarly, Ari Fuld embodied this spirit of dedication and defense in his life and his service to Israel, Jerusalem, and its sacred spaces, never backing down in the face of terrorist threats.

Just as Nehemiah’s efforts led to the successful rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls and the Beit Hamikdash, despite the challenges and dangers he faced, Ari’s legacy continues to inspire and strengthen the Jewish community’s connection to Jerusalem and its holy sites, even in the shadow of terrorism. His wife, Miriam, put it beautifully: “The truth that Ari tried to spread back then is still the truth of today: The Nation of Israel is a strong nation, this is where we as Jews belong, we have no other place to go, we are proud, and we stand up for what we believe in. That’s what Ari believed to his core.”

As we celebrate Jerusalem Day, let us remember and honor heroes like Ari Fuld and Nehemiah, who dedicated their lives to protecting and rebuilding the sacred walls and spaces at the heart of the Jewish people, even in the face of relentless terror. Through their actions and sacrifices, they have ensured that Jerusalem and its holy sites remain symbols of strength, resilience, and faith for generations to come, standing tall against those who would seek to destroy them. May their memories be a blessing, and may we all strive to embody their courage and dedication in our own lives, as we stand united against the scourge of terrorism and in defense of all that we hold dear on this auspicious day of Jerusalem’s reunification.

This is the seventh and final essay in a seven week series about Biblical and Modern Day Heroes in honor of the counting of the “Omer.” Catch up on the rest of the series here.

Allowing a Palestinian terror state in the heart of Israel would destroy the Jewish State.

Keep God’s Land is dedicated to strengthening and defending Israel’s right to its biblical heartland, with the ultimate goal of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Learn More about this incredible mission today!

Sara Lamm

Sara Lamm is a content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. Originally from Virginia, she moved to Israel with her husband and children in 2021. Sara has a Masters Degree in Education from Bankstreet college and taught preschool for almost a decade before making Aliyah to Israel. Sara is passionate about connecting Bible study with “real life’ and is currently working on a children’s Bible series.

Sara Lamm

Sara Lamm is a content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. Originally from Virginia, she moved to Israel with her husband and children in 2021. Sara has a Masters Degree in Education from Bankstreet college and taught preschool for almost a decade before making Aliyah to Israel. Sara is passionate about connecting Bible study with “real life’ and is currently working on a children’s Bible series.

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