Ultra-Orthodox city to honor Christian officer who died in shootout with terrorist, saving lives

If the vote passes, Amir Khoury will be the first non-Jew honored with a street named after him in B’nei Brak.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The B’nei Brak city council is slated to vote on a proposal to name a street after the heroic Christian Arab police officer who gave his life by neutralizing a terrorist in the middle of a shooting spree in the city last week.

If passed, St. Sgt. Amir Khoury will be the first non-Jew honored this way in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) city, whose streets are mainly named after great rabbis.

The proposal was made last week by the head of the city’s Likud branch, council member Yaakov Vider, who leads the haredi wing in the national party.

Quoting a well-known Jewish aphorism, Vider said, “Anyone who saves one Jewish life is as if he saved the whole world. Hero of Israel St. Sgt. Khoury courageously put his life on the line, resolutely sought contact with the terrorist, and prevented mass murder with his own body.”

“We have a duty to commemorate him and his courage, and also thereby express the deep appreciation that the city residents have for his bravery,” he added.

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One of the suggestions is to rename the street where Khoury gave his life in defense of the residents.

Ynet reported that there is apparently wall-to-wall agreement among all the parties to implement the proposal in the upcoming meeting.

“No one will oppose such an appropriate act,” the municipality said.

On March 29, Khoury and his unnamed partner in the police motorcycle unit raced to HaShnayim Street, where Palestinian terrorist Dia’a Hamarshi was shooting at people. He had already murdered two Ukrainian construction workers sitting outside a store, a local resident passing by in his car, and a rabbi who was pushing his toddler in a carriage. In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, Hamarshi mortally wounded Khoury before dying of his wounds.

The 32-year-old police officer was rushed to the hospital but doctors were forced to pronounce his death shortly afterwards.

Hundreds of hareidi Bnei Brak residents attended Khoury’s funeral in the northern city of Nof HaGalil to honor his sacrifice. They were joined by many more religious Jews who came from Jerusalem, Rehovot and other cities.

A resident of the village of Alon, Hanan Rubin paid out of his own pocket for a bus from the capital and was overwhelmed by the response to his invitation. Within an hour, he told N12, “more than 300 people contacted me.” Others then joined him in subsidizing buses to the funeral.

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“I imagined this scene in the cemetery with Christians, hareidim, Arabs and Jews, and said that this has to happen now,” he explained. “I simply got up in the morning and started things rolling – and it became something crazy.”