• Knan Trudi, age 25 from the Druze village of Samia.

    Nir Kafri, The Jewish Agency for Israel ©
Jewish Social Action

After a Tragedy, Druze Intelligence Officer is Grateful for the Fund for the Victims of Terror

When Knan Trudi’s brother-in-law was killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem, his family received assistance from The Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror. Knan, from the Druze village of Kisra-Samia, decided to give back.

How did a Druze man from the Western Galilee end up serving as a representative of The Jewish Agency in Denver? When Knan Trudi's brother-in-law was killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem, his family received assistance from The Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror. Knan, from the Druze village of Kisra-Samia, decided to give back.

Knan Trudi, age 25, is from the Druze village of Samia in the Galilee. He served in the Israeli army’s Intelligence Corps, was a counselor at a Jewish summer camp in Colorado, and now trains young Druze students at a pre-military academy.

“We are a Druze family of eight, and we have lived in Samia since we were born. My father is 56 and my mother is 41. I am the oldest. I have four sisters and two brothers,” Knan states.

But in 2014, tragedy struck his family. At the time, Knan Trudi was in his second year of studies at Ohalo College in the Golan Heights, after having completed his army service.

Knan’s sister was married to Zidan Saif, an officer in Israel’s national police force who happened to be patrolling in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood near the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue on the morning of November 18, 2014.

“He was at the end of a night shift at 7:05 a.m.”, Knan explains. “A few minutes beforehand he spoke to my sister, he told her he was due to finish work soon, and a few minutes later he heard about the event at Har Nof on the car radio. Shots were heard at the synagogue at Har Nof. He was close to the scene and he just didn’t think twice, didn’t hesitate.”

Palestinian terrorists entered the synagogue and began to attack the worshipers with knives and a gun. Zidan responded immediately, entering the synagogue and trying to subdue the attackers. He was shot in the head, and he died later that day after being hospitalized.

Zidan was survived by his wife and his daughter, who was four months old at the time of the attack. His funeral was attended by thousands of people, and President Reuven Rivlin gave one of the eulogies.

Connecting with The Jewish Agency

Following Zidan’s passing, his widow and her brother got to know both The Jewish Agency and the American Jewish community.

My sister, the widow – Rinal – became connected with [The Jewish Agency’s] Fund for the Victims of Terror,” Knan recalls. “The families of those who were murdered gave the family much support. Donations were sent. American Jews came to our village. They even invited us to come to the United States to tell the story of the family and my brother-in-law Zidan.”

Both Rinal and Knan decided to make the journey.

“My sister flew to Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, to meet and talk to the American Jews who had invited her. She gave a speech there,” Knan explains. “I joined her on the flight to Los Angeles. A Jewish Agency employee named Dov also joined us, and he told me that there are summer camps to which The Jewish Agency sends counselors. He suggested that I apply.”

Knan applied and was accepted.

“The Jewish Agency supported my sister – the family – after my brother-in-law died, and I thought about how to repay The Jewish Agency,” he explains. “My whole aim was to repay the good that The Jewish Agency did for my sister and our family. When we were in the United States, I saw the love and compassion the Jews there showed us.”

Knan was initially worried about traveling so far away for so long.

“We Druze are not used to spending two or three months away from home, but everyone supported me and said it was a good thing for me to do,” he states.

Soon enough, Knan flew to Colorado to start working at the summer camp.

The campers learned about Knan’s story, about his brother-in-law’s sacrifice, and about Israel’s Druze citizens. At the same time, Knan learned a great deal about the Jewish community around the world, including its various movements and issues.

“The children asked if I was Jewish. I told them I wasn’t, and that sparked their interest. They started asking me questions…. I told them about my village of Samia. I had an accent but that didn’t bother them…. And I learned about the differences between the various movements in Judaism. I mostly listened. And I talked about Zidan,” he recounts. “That was great, and it did me good.”

Knan now works for Acharai – Follow Me, a Jewish Agency-sponsored preparatory course for military service combining physical and mental preparation with leadership training.

He adds: “By the way, everyone I have told that I was a Jewish Agency Israeli Shaliach [Emissary] was surprised. They would ask me, ‘How did you get to do that?’ Then I tell them that I am doing something amazing, original, and outstanding.”

Knan is extremely grateful for the connections he made while serving as a Shaliach. “A very meaningful bond has developed between us, and I know I will always be in touch with The Jewish Agency,” he declares.

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This story was originally reported in Hebrew by Nathan Roi.

25 Apr 2017 / 29 Nisan 5777 0
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