By Anav Silverman and Tzvi Zucker
Thousands of Israelis from across the country, including the Haredi community, came to pay their respects to the Druze police officer, Zidan Saif, 30, who fell in the line of duty during the brutal Palestinian attack on a Jerusalem synagogue yesterday.
Traffic police officer Zidan Saif was among the first responders to the Har Nof synagogue, Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue, when two Palestinian terrorists stormed into the morning-prayer services, shooting and stabbing worshipers with meat cleavers, an ax, and gun. Saif diverted the attention of the terrorists to himself, engaging them in a gun battle and stopped them from continuing with the bloody massacre. He was shot in the head and succumbed to his wounds at Hadassah hospital later on Tuesday night, November 19.
Har Nof Rabbi Yehuda Breitkopf, who heads a kollel (institute for Torah study) on the street where the brutal attack on the synagogue occurred, told Tazpit News Agency that Zidan Sayif was a heroic example for all people. “We have much to learn from the Druze community,” Breitkopf told Tazpit. “The deep message that we can learn from this tragedy, is to act when someone’s life is in danger – exactly as Saif did.”
“Our mission as human beings is to take care of each other. The Druze community knows how to do this. We are very thankful for Saif’s actions – he saved many Jewish lives and he defended our people,” added Breitkopf.
Saif, who left behind his wife and four-month-year-old daughter, was buried in his hometown of Yahuh-Jat in the Galilee in the north. Eliran Illouz, an Israeli from Akko, told Tazpit News Agency that he travelled to the funeral to show his appreciation for the Druze community. “I felt a need to come to the funeral because of his service to Israel, and the Druze community’s service to Israel.”
“I wanted to show my appreciation for the Druze people – the border policeman who fell in the terror attack at the Jerusalem light rail two weeks ago and the Druze who stood up for Israel in Abu Snan. It is important to show respect and honor to Saif and those before him,” Illouz told Tazpit.
“I would say Saif is a hero.”
Among the thousands who paid their final respects to Saif including Haredi residents of Jerusalem’s Har Nof community, were Israel President Reuven Rivlin, Public Security Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovich, and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino.
The Druze community in Israel is officially recognized as a separate religious entity, whose culture and language is Arabic. They serve in the IDF and in the Israel Border Police and have reached high-level positions in the political, military, and public domains.