On September 16, 2018, Tishrei 7, 5779, the Jewish nation lost a hero, online warrior Ari Fuld, an American-born resident of Efrat who was murdered at the Gush Etzion Junction, after spending his last breath in an effort to neutralize the terrorist who had stabbed him.
In 1946, German-born Bracha Fuld was the first female Jewish fighter killed in clashes with the soldiers of the British government, in Tel Aviv.
Matzav Haruach editor Chagai Hoberman pointed out on Friday that 72 years ago, on Tishrei 27, 5707 (October 22, 1946), the British army boarded an illegal immigration ship, the S.S. Bracha Fuld, with close to one thousand Holocaust survivors on board. The boat was dragged to Haifa harbor, where a brawl broke out between the British and the Jews. The British soldiers eventually subdued the Jewish refugees, who were taken to His Majesty’s concentration camps on the island of Cyprus, where they remained until the declaration of independence in May, 1948.
The boat was named after a young member of the Palmach shock troops of the Hagana underground, who was born in Berlin in December 1927. Her father, who had served in the German army in WW1, committed suicide in 1938 in response to Kristalnacht. Bracha (who was originally named Barbara by her parents) was smuggled to London, where she got an aliyah certificate and came to Palestine, joined the Palmach in 1944 and was one of a small group of women enrolled in a squad commanders’ course—where she was named outstanding cadet. She was made an officer at the age of 18 and commanded several platoons and military detachments.
In March 1946, a ship of illegal Jewish immigrants from Italy was set to arrive in Palestine, and the Hagana leadership insisted that it throw anchor off the Tel Aviv shore. Fuld and her squad were sent to protect a stretch of road where the Hilton hotel today stands, where rowboats would unload their passengers from the ship on the high seas. The ship was captured and diverted by the British before it managed to make it to Tel Aviv, but the message to abort the mission did not reach Fuld and her squad in time, and they soon faced a British tank unit. Fuld was badly wounded in an exchange of fire with the British crew, which, instead of taking her to hospital, took her to a police station to be interrogated. She died of her injuries shortly thereafter – rumor had it that her captors killed her.
On the same day the Bracha Fuld ship was captured, October 22, 1946, a group of young B’nei Akiva graduates established the third Gush Etzion settlement of Ein Tzurim. Gush Etzion was destroyed in 1948 by the invading Jordanians, only to be rebuilt after the 1967 victory over Jordan. Which marks the eternal line that connects the Jewish heroine Bracha Fuld and the Jewish hero Ari Fuld.