When, earlier this month, great evil came to the Kehillat Bnai Torah Yeshiva Synagogue, at the western edge of Jerusalem, one of the first on the scene was a young man named Zidan Saif. He died trying to save the innocent from butchery reminiscent of the 1929 Arab Riots and Hebron Pogrom.
Mr. Saif was not a Jew. He was an Israeli Druze. The Druze, or as they call themselves, al-Muwaḥḥidūn, are a monotheistic community traditionally residing from the Upper Galilee to the Golan (the area where the borders of Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon meet).
The Druze are said to trace their lineage back to the ancient Kenites. Yitro (Jethro), the father-in Law of Moses, was a Kenite. To this day the Druze revere Yitro as a great prophet; his grave, near Tiberias, is the most important Druze shrine.
The Kenites were also related to the house of Rahab, which joined the Israelites in saving the city of Yericho (Jericho).
The heroine, Yael, was married to “Hever – the Kenite”. In the time of Prophetess / Judge, Devorah, Yael sheltered the fleeing enemy general Sisera, plied him with dairy until he fell asleep, and then drove a tent-peg through his head.
Ten years ago the spiritual leader of the Druze; Sheikh Muwaffak Tarīf, called on all non-Jews to commit to making a “…better humane world based on the Seven Noahide Commandments and the values they represent commanded by the Creator to all mankind through Moses on Mount Sinai.”
Clearly, Zidan Saif lived a life steeped in the timeless values, personal bravery, and the culture of his ancient and proud people. He died with honor. He will be missed by many. May his memory be a blessing, and may his story be told for generations to come.
ADDENDUM: His family, led by his father Sheikh Nuhad Seif, recently visited the synagogue. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187969#.VHdfzmeOqSo