United with Israel
Hundreds attend funeral of Michael Ben Zikri, 45, who was hailed as a hero for sacrificing his life to save a Bedouin mother and her three children from drowning.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
Jews and Arabs joined together in mourning Sunday at the funeral of Michael Ben Zikri, 45, of Ashdod who drowned after rescuing a Bedouin mother and her three children from a shallow lake where Israelis were enjoying their weekend.
The family had apparently gotten sucked under the water when a sinkhole opened up underneath them in the man-made lake near Zikim beach outside of Ashkelon, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Tel Aviv.
The 40-year-old woman and her three children hail from the Bedouin town of Hura, just north of Beersheba, and had joined other Israeli families at the popular swimming area on Friday. Ben Zikri rescued the mother, two girls, aged 14 and 7, and their 10-year-old brother.
The exhausted Ben Zikri apparently slipped under the water himself and his body was found later by Magen David Adom rescue workers, but it was too late and he could not be revived.
“Today it’s hard to find a hero like this,” one of the Bedouin family members said in a TV news interview. “The entire family apologizes for what happened.”
Even though limited by the coronavirus pandemic, scores of Bedouins from Hura attended the funeral, holding posters with slogans praising Ben Zikri’s heroism and thanking him for saving the family.
Former Arab Knesset member Talab El-Sana addressed the funeral, telling Ben Zikri’s family that the entire community shared in their grief.
“The Arab public is in mourning in the entire country from north to south,” El-Sana said. “We will rename the main street in our town in his honor.”
Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin paid tribute to Ben Zikri and announced that his office is creating a new civilian award for citizens who inspire others in society through their heroic actions.
“I have decided to award, for the first time, a special commendation to Michael Ben Zikri, of blessed memory, whose actions set an example of outstanding civic action,” tweeted Rivlin, who invited both families to his residence at the end of the mourning period.
数百人参加了现年45岁的迈克尔·本·齐克里（Michael Ben Zikri）的葬礼，他因牺牲自己的生命以拯救贝都因母亲和她的三个孩子免遭溺水而被誉为英雄。
犹太人和阿拉伯人周日在阿什杜德的45岁迈克尔·本·齐克里（Michael Ben Zikri）的葬礼上共同哀悼，后者在以色列人度过周末的一个浅水湖中解救了贝都因人的母亲和她的三个孩子后溺水身亡。
精疲力竭的本·齐克里（Ben Zikri）显然是自己滑倒在水下，后来玛根·戴维·阿多姆（Magen David Adom）的救援人员发现了他的尸体，但为时已晚，他无法复活。
阿拉伯议会的前成员塔拉卜·萨那（Talab El-Sana）在葬礼上致辞，对本·齐克里（Ben Zikri）的家人说，整个社区在悲痛中分享。
以色列总统鲁文·里夫林（Rouven Rivlin）向本·齐克里（Ben Zikri）致敬，并宣布，他的办公室将为那些通过英勇行动激励社会上其他人的公民设立新的平民奖。