Shooting the bulldozer terrorist
Shooting the bulldozer terroristIsrael news photo: (file)

IDF Northern Commander Gadi Eisenkot presented an award Wednesday to Moshe Plesser, an off-duty Golani soldier who stopped a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 2008. Plesser, a resident of Kiryat Moshe, risked his own life to shoot the rampaging attacker, who used a bulldozer to kill three people near the downtown area.

Award ceremony (Hebrew)

Can't see video?
Click here.

Eisenkot said at the ceremony: "What was special about Sergeant Plesser's deeds was that this was a soldier who was just beginning his military path, who chanced upon a [terror] event when he was on leave, showed initiative and resourcefulness and kept his cool, strove for contact with the target and thus saved human lives. In his deeds, Sgt. Plesser offered a personal example of how IDF soldiers are expected to act.”

Plesser was riding his bicycle through Jerusalem's streets when he saw the attack unfolding. He got off the bicycle and raced towards the bulldozer as the terrorist attempted to continue his attack while still unarmed. Once he reached the bulldozer, he grabbed a gun from a nearby guard and fired on the terrorist, killing him.

An IDF committee found that Plesser's act was noteworthy, and that he had demonstrated initiative and bravery.

After the attack, Plesser credited his yeshiva education, his IDF experience, and his brother-in-law David Shapira with giving him the courage and the ability to stop the attack. Shapira had similarly risked his life to stop a terrorist attack one month earlier, shooting an Arab gunman at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva as police hesitated to intervene.

Army Didn't Want Him - Because of Disengagement Protests

Plesser had to fight to gain the IDF experience he noted as crucial to stopping the attack. For years, he was unable to enlist in a combat unit due to his history as a protester against the 2005 Expulsion from Gaza.

Plesser was accused of disturbing police in connection with an incident in which he photographed fellow anti-Disengagement activists as they blocked a road. Plesser, then 17, was beaten by officers during the demonstration. Despite his record, he eventually succeeded in enlisting and was accepted to an elite unit, in which he was serving at the time of the attack.