City leaders in what is characterized as an ultra-Orthodox area in Israel are considering naming a street after a Christian police officer.
The officer, Amir Khoury, is an Arab who died last week while stopping a terror attack in Beni Brak.
If the naming goes through, it will be the first time the city has named a street after a non-Jew.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Khoury is now called a “Hero of Israel.”
Ynet quoted Ben Shimon saying that it is considered kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God) to pay a last respect to a fallen hero.
“It is the very least we can do to thank him,” he said.
The city is also planning to hold a special event in his memory.
Including Khoury, five people were killed in the terror attack, during which a gunman armed with a rifle started shooting people on a residential street. Khoury and a partner arrived on the scene by motorcycle, returning fire to stop the terrorist, who was eventually killed. Khoury later died at Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus of gunshot wounds sustained in the attack.
The Post continues:
Ultra-Orthodox rabbis encouraged many in the haredi community to attend Khoury’s funeral procession. Itamar Kirshenbaum, a young haredi man told the Israeli news outlet that he was on a bus for five hours to get to the cemetery and pay respect to “a hero” for the lives that he helped save.
Hanan Rubin, an Orthodox resident, organized bus services for religious Jews who wanted to attend the funeral.
“I understood what our picture against terrorism should [sic] like. It is not a picture of empty cafés and a frightened public – but rather a picture of unity and co-existence with people who want a real partnership,” he wrote on Facebook.
“For many sectors of the religious public, it was very difficult to attend a Christian ceremony. Whether you agree with it or not – that is the reality. And here, today, we witnessed a substantial religious and Orthodox presence at Amir’s final farewell,” Rubin added.
The Times of Israel reports that Khoury was buried in a military cemetery in his hometown after an Orthodox Christian funeral.
Rubin, a former Jerusalem city council member, said bringing ultra-Orthodox Israelis to a Christian funeral brought its own complications. Some yeshiva students and rabbis balked at the prominent displays of crosses.
“But they came. They found a way to be a part of this partnership,” Rubin said.
“The response was extraordinary. So many people reached out and wanted to take part and come,” Rubin said in a phone call.