The memory of Zidan Saif, the Druse policeman killed in the November 2014 terrorist attack on worshipers in a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof, will be honored this Sabbath at the capital city’s Great Synagogue.
The Torah reading for this Sabbath is named for Jethro, who in addition to having been the father-in-law of Moses, is regarded as the spiritual founder and holiest of prophets by the Druse community. Many Druse regard Jethro as the ancestor of all Druse
Decision makers at the Great Synagogue believe that recalling Saif’s bravery when the portion about Jethro is read aloud in the synagogue is the most appropriate way for Jews to pay tribute to Saif’s courage. Saif fired at the terrorists from outside the synagogue, but collapsed when one of them ran out and shot him at close range. Saif was rushed to hospital, but died of his wounds.
Four rabbis – Aryeh Kupinsky, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Kalman Levine and Moshe Twersky – were killed in the attack inside the synagogue.
In recognition of Saif’s courage, a New York Jewish couple added the name Zidan to that of their baby son Ya’akov in order to perpetuate both his name and his memory.
Hundreds of people including Druse, Jews, Christians and Muslims including President Reuven Rivlin attended Saif’s funeral in the Druse village of Yanuh-Jat.