Amir and Shani met about seven years ago, both were working at the time for the Israeli police force. He is a Christian Arab, she is Jewish. He began his academic education in medicine, switched to law, and eventually served as a police officer.
Tuesday, March 29th, just a few minutes before the clock struck 8pm, Amir’s police unit was called to the streets of the orthodox Jewish city of Bnei Brak (on the outskirts of Tel Aviv). Someone was shooting all over the place with an M-16. Senior Staff Sergeant Major Khuri managed to disarm the terrorist, but sustained critical wounds while doing so. He later died at the hospital.
The funeral ceremony was held at the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth. Shani, his Jewish fiancé, hugged the Police Force flag and saluted: “My hero, you are now the hero of all of Israel!”
Images from Amir Khuri’s funeral (credit: Ynet.co.il)
Several terror attacks had hit us in the past couple of weeks, yet the media dedicated much airtime to this story. Probably because of its uniqueness. An Arab terrorist (a Muslim), that was planning to die while killing Jews, ends up killing another Arab; and the victim, on his end, was willing to sacrifice his life in order to save Jews.
Two orthodox Jews were also killed in that attack, both residents of Bnei Brak. The willingness of a Christian Arab to jump into the fire in order to save Jewish lives has stirred up a mini-revolution in that city. Its residents are not used to such gestures coming from Arabs. The funeral, though held in a Christian location (which is considered defiled by the Orthodox) was attended by many Rabbis and orthodox Jews.
A “Ruler who Whitens” and a “Red One who is Straight”
So much symbolism is embedded in this story, even in the very names of Amir and Shani.
Amir Khuri means in Hebrew “a prince, a ruler, a governor, a nobleman who has turned white”. Shani Yashar (his fiancé’s name) means “red and straight”.
For the first time ever the municipal authorities of Bnei Brak have decided to commemorate a non-Jew. Almost unanimously everyone voted to name one of the city’s streets, that up to that point were always named after Jewish heroes, in Khuri’s name. That’s their way of honoring his bravery and the fact that his actions prevented a greater tragedy.
I am trying to imagine the day in which a street in Israel will be named in honor of another Hero, one who was willing to jump into the fire to save Jews – of Yeshua the Messiah. I can’t think of an emoji that will depict our astonishment when that will happen.
We do know that such a day will indeed come, as the whole land will be called by the name of its rightful owner, in whose wings all the above symbols and many more are expressed: healing, law-giving, righteous judgment, and the power to turn our sins white as snow as He puts us on a straight path.
One At a Time
Welcome, Yeshua! You are the only Ruler and Prince (Amir), in whose Red (Shani) Blood our hearts are made White (Khuri) and Straight (Yashar). Even though entire streets or cities are not called in Your name as of yet, we rejoice over each Israeli heart that realizes The Hero of Israel was willing to give His life for him or her.
I thank you that our nation is able to recognize a hero when we see someone who is willing to give his life, not only for his own loved ones, but for those who are considered to be enemies.
As Passover approaches, I ask that You open more eyes among our people, specifically this time among the Orthodox in Bnei Berak. Enable them to see the Jewish Face of the one who is still considered the greatest enemy of our nation.
Please stretch Your mighty Arm so we can fathom the fact You had sent Your Son to His suffering. Amir’s father cried bitterly and said that all he wants right now is to have his son back home, with him. If asked, I doubt he would willingly send Amir to this final watch of his. So understandable. But there is nothing he could have done to prevent the outcoming.
El Gibor (Mighty God), Pe’le (Miracle), use this story to soften another layer in our hardened hearts. Amaze us with the sobering realization that although You could have prevented Yeshua’s death, we are carved so deep on the pupils of Your eyes, that You chose to let Him go.
I also ask that Amir’s family and his fiancé will acknowledge the full price that has already been paid. As the Christian world is preparing to celebrate Your death and resurrection, please work in their hearts and turn their mourning into joy.