'You are the heroes of us all. I salute you!'

President Rivlin speaks Israel Police ceremony awarding medals of excellence.

Elad Benari,

Rivlin at Israel Police ceremony
Rivlin at Israel Police ceremony
Kobi Gideon/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin spoke on Tuesday evening at an Israel Police ceremony awarding medals of excellence, held at the National Police College in Beit Shemesh.

The medals were given to members of the Civilian Counter-Terrorism unit (Yamam), Border Police Israel Police and for excellence in action, initiative, determination and more. Amongst the recipients were Master Sergeant Hadas Malka for excellence in police work while risking her life, in the terrorist attack at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem in 2017.

The Medal of Distinguished Service (Civilian) was awarded to Ari Fuld for conspicuous bravery during a stabbing attack in Gush Etzion last September. The Commissioner’s citation was awarded to Sergeant-Major YL of Yamam for excellence during the operation to eliminate the murderers of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, where he displayed professionalism and initiative. The Medal of Distinguished Service was awarded to Sergeant-Major S A for acts of exemplary courage during the operation to eliminate the murders of Rabbi Shevach. The Yamam soldiers were awarded their decorations whilst in disguise, to protect their safety. The Commissioner’s citiation was also awarded to the “Arava” rescue unit for operational excellence whilst exhibiting professionalism, determination and devotion to the mission during the rescue of the students of the Bnei Zion pre-army academy who were caught in floods in the Nachal Tzafit disaster. The Medal of Distinguished Service (Civilian) was awarded to Ofek Moshe Kaufman for an act of exemplary courage during the attempted stabbing attack at the Mishor Adumim petrol station.

“The Israel Police is one of the foundations of our existence. There is no civil security without a strong police force,” said the president at the beginning of his remarks. “At times of crisis, terrorism, crime, road accidents, fires and floods, on different fronts and facing many and varied challenges, you will be on the front line. You are the ones who step forward, separating civilians from terrorists, separating danger from victims.”

“The acts of heroism that we are saluting tonight are an additional element. They bear witness to the extraordinary commitment of Border Police soldiers and the men and women of the Israel Police to the security of our country, to the defense of the people of the State of Israel and to saving human life, facing any threat and in any situation. Acts of bravery may be solitary, unique, but your commitment is total. Every day. Every year. All the years,” emphasized the president.

“In the last few weeks, I have read your personal stories and learned how you are all strong links in the long chain of heroism that stretches from the establishment of the state until today,” continued the president. “Master Sergeant Hadas Malka, a brave Border Police soldier, full of the joys of life, who insisted on serving in a meaningful way, fought the terrorist at the Damascus Gate with her remaining strength and in so doing prevented him from continuing on his murder spree. I will also mention here those who fell in the line of duty: First Sergeant Yossi Kirma, First Sergeant Haiel Sitawe, First Sergeant Kamil Shnaan, Staff Sergeant Solomon Gavriyah, and just recently Ari Fuld, who pursued a terrorist after being stabbed and managed to shoot him before collapsing and dying. Men and women, immigrants and natives, from all parts of the country and from all groups and religions. Policemen and women, soldiers and civilians who shared a sense of mission, love of the country and saving human life.”

“Men and women of the Israel Police, dear families, dear recipients. The decorations awarded here are not given out lightly. You have earned them, at risk to your lives,” emphasized the president. “Fighting for Israel’s security, some of our heroes lost their lives or were injured and will require long-term recuperation. All of them displayed exceptional heroism, determination when facing danger, personal risk on behalf of us all and a commitment to saving life. You are not only the heroes of the Israel Police. You are the heroes of us all. I salute you!”

“I want to send from hear a loving embrace to the families of the fallen heroes who were not able to be with us here tonight,” said the president as he concluded his remarks. “You paid the heaviest price. Thank you to the Israel Police, thank you to the Border Police, thank you for keeping us safe and enabling us to live our daily lives.”

President Rivlin thanked outgoing Commissioner of Police Roni Alsheikh for his long and many years of service to the security of Israel, during his years as an IDF officer, his long service in the Israeli Security Agency (Shabak) and as the Commissioner of the Israel Police.