Almost every news service carried the story, Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, was on his way to work when he noticed a commotion on the street. Instead of running away from the danger as might have been prudent, he left his car and ran toward it. He found a man lying in blood, a knife wielding terrorist standing over him asking, “who else should be hurt?”

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The mayor’s bodyguard pointed his gun and the terrorist dropped his knife at which point the mayor wrestled him to the ground. Once the immediate danger had passed, the Mayor ran to help the victim.

I wasn’t surprised to read the mean spirited comments about the politician acting to gain votes. I was less surprised by the responsible comments that argued quite correctly that the Mayor’s security detail should have protected him and removed him from danger. I was surprised by the Mayor’s comments because hey reveal a character so sterling and rare that they should have headlined every newscast.

Talking to Neil Cavuto from Fox News, Barkat explained what moved him to run toward the danger instead of away from it. He said, “The residents of Jerusalem are part of me. When you run into such situations the last thing you do is run away. You figure it out.
This is how the world should run. This is how we ought to think. The people around me are part of me. It’s not, me first and everyone else second. It’s you and I together or even better, you ahead of me. Putting others ahead of ourselves is a cardinal Jewish ideal. “Love another as you love yourself.” Just as you want others to rescue you, you run to rescue others.

If all this seems obvious to you, then you too are special and since you are, you probably understand why Barkat has no regrets. In his words, “In retrospect we would probably do the same if we come into this situation in the future.” It’s not something you do for points and it’s certainly not something you do for votes. It’s something you are raised with until it becomes part of you.

We are not individuals. We are a collective. Thank you Barkat for reminding us of that. Thank you for modeling these values. Your mother did an excellent job. She had much to be proud of and we have much to be grateful for. She gave us Nir Barkat, a man we can all learn from.

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