"Israel is my family" Border Police Woman says after being stabbed

“Jerusalem is the country’s holiest city and we need to take care of it, preserve it."

Liza Ruti Nataf, member of the Border Police standing infront of the Western Wall (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Liza Ruti Nataf, member of the Border Police standing infront of the Western Wall
On a Thursday morning in December 2018, an assailant stabbed two police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City. One was a 20-year-old female member of the Border Police named Liza Ruti Nataf.
An immigrant from France, Nataf was stabbed in the leg. A fight then ensued between border guards and the terrorist, until they shot and killed him in front of their wounded comrade.
Nataf could have left the army after being wounded. Instead, she spent nearly a year recovering and then returned to her unit and back to the field, protecting the neighborhoods of one of the most contested areas of the country.
“Jerusalem is the country’s holiest city, and we need to take care of it, preserve it,” Nataf told The Jerusalem Post ahead of Family Day. “My work is very emotional for me, very special.”
Nataf made aliyah four years ago. Soon after, she joined an IDF program for new immigrants with the aim of being part of Jerusalem’s Border Police.
According to the official government website gov.il, in its early years, the Border Police, which was established with the founding of the state, focused mainly on fighting infiltrations. Later, it operated around the “urban line” in Jerusalem, manning many posts. During the course of Israel’s two intifadas, the Border Police played a central role in fighting terrorism.
Today, the Border Police serves as a versatile police force that fights crime and terrorism, provides security and helps maintain order, the website says.
Jerusalem’s Border Police is on the frontlines, said Israel Police Supt. Micky Rosenfeld, the spokesman for foreign media. When there is a riot, these officers are the first to respond. When there is heightened security around religious holidays, such as Ramadan or Passover, it is the Border Police who must protect participants, he said.
The Border Police operates in the Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Jewish quarters. It is coordinated by the Israel Police and the IDF.
“My dream was to be a part of the Border Police,” Nataf said.
But her struggle to become a member of the force was not easy. She was all alone except for her sister. Her parents had tried to make aliyah but returned to France.
“With my parents not here, life is not so simple,” Nataf told the Post. “But I have gotten used to it. Today, I see the land as my family.”
On February 25, Israel marks Family Day, or Yom Hamishpacha in Hebrew.
The day is celebrated on the 30th of the Hebrew month of Shvat each year. Before the 1990s, it was celebrated as Mother’s Day. But it was reconfigured in those years in recognition of social and cultural changes in Israel.
“On holidays and Shabbat it was not always easy,” Nataf told the Post. “But thank G-d, we are really getting along now,” she said of herself and her sister.
Nataf said instead of her injury weakening her, it strengthened her drive, and serving Israel is what motivates her to stay here even without her biological family.
She will be released from the army in a few months. Then, she said, “I hope I will stay here in Israel and build a family of my own.”