Israeli Who Died After Saving 4 from Drowning to be Awarded Special Commendation
President Reuven Rivlin announced Monday that he has decided to award a special commendation to Michael Ben Zikri as “an example of civic action.”
Ben Zikri, 45, lost his life over the weekend when he saved the lives of a woman and three children at a lake at the edge of Nachal Shikma, near Ashkelon.
The four people he saved are of the al-Karem family from the Bedouin town of Hura.
Rivlin invited Michael’s wife Cheli and their three children, the al-Karem family to Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem at the end of the Shiva mourning period for Michael and will launch the Civil Medal of Distinguished Service, awarded to civilians to commend exemplary behavior in Israeli society.
This is the first time Rivlin in awarding an Israeli with the medal.
Jonathan Gonen, director of digital media in Arabic at Israeli Foreign Ministry, said that Ben Zikri’s story generated a buzz in the Muslim world.
“It is a human story that could not have left followers in Arab countries indifferent, including those hostiles to Israel,” he said. “Surfers from Morocco to Iraq, from Oman to Syria, identified with the story and unanimously, and to a large extent, voted on Michael’s heroism, with some also emphasizing coexistence and the shared life in Israel as a role model.”