Arab who saved Jewish couple from terror attack honored

M. received the Righteous Among the Nations title and a cash reward for risking his life when the Barons were ambushed by terrorists on the eve of Passover.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An Arab who saved a Jewish couple from a road ambush two weeks ago was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations and given a cash award in a joint ceremony of the Roots and Betzalmo organizations Sunday night.

Around 3 a.m. on the day before Passover, Amichai and Nitzan Baron were driving towards their Carmei Tzur home on Route 60, the main highway that crosses through Judea and Samaria. They were following behind a Palestinian car, when they saw it suddenly swerve around a pile of rocks on the road. Unfortunately, they didn’t have time to do the same, and hit the barrier.

They understood it was a preplanned ambush when dozens of young Arabs immediately appeared and began throwing rocks at their stalled vehicle.

M., who lives above the highway, heard the commotion and saw the danger the Barons were in. He left his home and called out to the couple to run to him and he would protect them in his house.

As Amichai told Haaretz afterwards, “In the beginning we were afraid to go in, but when I understood that he really wanted to help us we calmed down. We don’t want to think what would have happened if he hadn’t let us in.”

M. shielded the two from the stones with his own body, which hurt him slightly. The rioters, who were very angry at him, then started throwing stones at his house and burned his front gate, causing thousands of shekels of damage in all.

The Barons called the army, and soon after, an IDF jeep came and drove them home. They left their own car on the scene, which was torched and totally destroyed by morning.

The Betzalmo human rights organization started a crowdfunding campaign in order to cover the financial damage caused to M’s property. It was then joined by Roots, a group of Palestinians and Israelis that was formed in 2014 to build trust and create understanding between the two peoples through dialogue and joint activities, despite the ideological differences between them.

Betzalmo CEO Shai Glick and Roots director Khaled Abu Awad gave the certificate of honor and money that had been raised to M. in a ceremony at the Roots center in Gush Etzion, which was attended by M.’s family, members of the Baron family, IDF officers and residents of Carmei Tzur and the Etzion region. A joint holiday meal to celebrate the end of Ramadan followed.

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“He who protects the citizens of Israel has become a part of us and we will take care of him forever,” Glick said at the event. “We are proud to award him this prize and hope that many of his people will follow in his footsteps.”

M. was touched and said that he did not understand the reason for all the excitement, since what he did was the most natural act to save another human’s life.