In an emotional ceremony yesterday (Tuesday), "shield of Israel" citations were awarded to 13 ordinary citizens who put their lives on the line to fight against terror on the streets of Israel.
The citation was given by "Shurat Hadin" CEO Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Res. Brig. Gen. Avigdor Kahalani, during the organizations' international conference in Jerusalem.
"This was a very moving event which gave us the opportunity to come into contact with those who have protected terror victims," Kahalani said, "they prevented murder with their bare hands, all from a sense of a national mission. We held this ceremony in order to give them strength and thank them."
Here are the heroes and their stories:
On the morning of the 13th of October, 2015, Rehavi arrived at his office on Ra'anana's Ahuza street only to hear screams coming from the street below. He looked out and saw a terrorist stabbing someone at a bus stop. Without a moments' hesitation, Mickey grabbed an umbrella from the office and ran down to confront the terrorist. He managed to neutralize the stabber using the umbrella and, with the help of passersby, wrestled him to the ground.
On February 7th, there was an attack near the kindergarten where Leora works, as a terrorist stabbed a soldier and started fleeing. Many shots were fired as security forces ran in pursuit, and Leora showed great poise in herding the children in her charge into an area where they would not be harmed.
On the evening of the 28th of January a terrorist arrived at a gas station in Giv'at Ze'ev and started stabbing everyone in sight. Daniel identified the terrorist from his vantage point inside a restaurant he owns and pursued him for several hundred feet, eventually catching up to him. Daniel managed to disarm the terrorist and neutralize him with the help of others arriving at the scene.
During the same attack on the 28th of January in Giv'at Ze'ev Hillel also heard screams while working in the bakery he manages. He sprinted after the terrorist, caught up, and helped fight him, getting stabbed in the leg twice in the process.
Hananel was shopping at the "Rami Levi" branch in Sha'ar Binyamin, when two 14 year old terrorists entered and started stabbing shoppers. Hananel fought one of the attackers and managed to shoot him dead, preventing a much higher victim count. This was the attack in which IDF Sgt. Yanai Weisseman was murdered as he bravely attempted to fight off the terrorists with his bare hands.
During the same attack at the "Rami Levy", Ariel was also shopping when terrorist started their stabbing spree. He identified the attackers quickly and helped neutralize them. He then gave aid to the wounded.
In the evening of October 12th, 2015, a terrorist ran over two soldiers near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, subsequently leaving the car and stabbing people standing at a nearby bus stop. Benayahu was passing by and heard the screams of the wounded. He bravely pursued the terrorist and, with the help of others, neutralized him. He then went back to give aid to those injured.
On the 22nd of November, 2015, Mesika – former head of the Samaria Regional Council – was driving near an army base in Samaria, when he saw a female terrorist running after five girls who had been waiting at a hitchhiking post, trying to stab them. He understood the situation immediately, and, at great danger to himself, managed to ram the attacker with his car while driving into a ditch. Arriving soldiers then eliminated her.
On the morning of March 2nd Ro'i left his house in Eli, Samaria, on his way to report for army reserve duty when he was assailed by two 17 year old terrorists. He fought them off bravely and managed to repel them, with his wife and 5 children in the house. The assailants fled after wounding Ro'i and were subsequently killed by soldiers.
Rabbi Shlomo Gangata
On the 8th of October, 2015, Shlomo was on the bus passing by the Jerusalem light rail station at ammunition hill, when he spotted a terrorist stabbing a Yeshiva student and then trying to grab a firearm from security personnel. Shlomo left the bus in the middle of the road and ran straight at the attacker, managing to keep him occupied until security forces arrived.
On the 26th of January two armed terrorists stabbed two women in the town of Beit Horon. They then tried to go into the local grocery store where they ran into Motti who fought them off with a shopping cart and managed to push them out of the store, where they were shot by a security guard. This was the attack in which Shlomit Krigman was murdered.
On the evening of the 22nd of November, 2015, a 16 year old terrorist attacked and stabbed passersby on a street in Kiryat Gat. Though she sustained 3 stab wounds in her back and stomach, Liam, 13, managed to keep her cool, call the police, and direct them to the scene. This enabled security forces to locate and kill the terrorist.
On the evening of the 8th of March Yishai was sitting and playing his guitar on the Jaffa promenade, when he suddenly spotted a terrorist stabbing people who'd been walking along the promenade. Yishai opened pursuit armed with only his guitar, and confronted the terrorist, striking him in the head. He continued fighting while the terrorist attempted to stab him, occupying his attention until security forces arrived and shot the attacker dead. US citizen and army veteran Taylor Force was murdered in that attack.