Taylor Force, 29, was killed by a Palestinian terrorist who went on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa on March 8, 2016.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Thirty days after a terrorist stabbed Taylor Force to death in Jaffa, representatives of the US Embassy and members of the Israeli Scouts came together to pay tribute at the site of the American tourist’s murder.
At a ceremony at Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s seaside promenade organized by the Israel Project, William Grant – the US Embassy’s deputy chief of missions – spoke of Force’s life. The 29-year-old West Point Military Academy graduate had served in Afghanistan and Iraq as a field artillery officer, he said.
Demobilized, Force then studied at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, Tennessee, before visiting Israel in February.
“He represented the best of America,” Grant said. He expressed his condolences to Force’s family, and said they appreciated that the remembrance ceremony was being held.
“We condemn the murder, and we also condemn those who failed to denounce his murder and other heinous acts,” Grant said, recalling Joe Biden’s condemnation of the attack – which occurred as US vice president was meeting with former president Shimon Peres nearby – and alluding to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s failure to condemn the murder.
“It’s a truth but it’s a tragic truth that Taylor Force’s murder helped build a connection between the people of the United States and the people of Israel, as represented by your presence here,” Grant said.
As a teen, Force reached the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, the organization’s highest rank.
Members of the Israeli Scout Movement presented Force’s grieving family with a framed scout uniform and a posthumously awarded Badge of Honor.
“Taylor was a scout like us,” said Nurit Salti, a member of Israeli Scouts’ leadership staff for the Tel Aviv-Jaffa district.
Despite the distance, she told The Jerusalem Post, American and Israeli scouts “share a common thread” and common values. “It was important for us to come here today and say that were are in this together.”
When asked why they decided to present the slain man’s family with a scout uniform, Salti said that it is a visible representation for its wearers of the values that the scouts hold dear, such as making a difference in society and tikkun olam, repairing the world.
She said the scouts present included a mix of Jews, Christians and Muslims from Jaffa who felt the attack strongly due to its proximity to their home, she said.
“The story of Force’s life is an inspiration to scouts around the world and to us in particular,” she said. “We came together today, with our diversity of backgrounds, to say we are against terror and against violence.”