Arab world mourns Israeli who died saving Bedouin family from drowning

Michael Ben Zikri becomes symbol of co-existence between Jews and Muslims after Foreign Ministry shares his story on its social media accounts in Persian and Arabic; 'There is no difference between humans,' writes Iraqi commenter

Itamar Eichner|
Numerous internet users from all across the Arab and Muslim world were touched in recent days by the story of Michael Ben Zikri, an Israeli man who drowned over the weekend after saving a Bedouin family at Shiqma Reservoir in the country's south, and have shared their condolences with his family.
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  • Ben Zikri has become a symbol of co-existence between Jews and Muslims after the Foreign Ministry shared his story on its social media accounts in Persian and Arabic.
    3 View gallery
    גולשים ממדינות מוסלמיות ומאיראן תומכים במעשה של מיכאל בן זיקרי
    גולשים ממדינות מוסלמיות ומאיראן תומכים במעשה של מיכאל בן זיקרי
    The post in Arabic on the Foreign Ministry Facebook includes an image of Michael Ben Zikri
    (Photo: Screenshot)
    "This is true humanitarianism," commented an Iraqi user by the name of Mirna. "There is no difference between humans, God has taught us to love one another."
    "Humanity has no religion, may he dwell in heaven and blessings come upon his families and loved ones for his noble act," wrote another user.
    A Saudi user by the name of Othman mentioned in his comment a passage from the Quran in which God said that whoever saves a single soul is considered as if he saved all people.
    "The fact we have political differences with you guys doesn't mean there is a disagreement between us about humanitarianism," wrote a user from Egypt.
    "This is the people of Israel who love all and help all," wrote another user from Iraq.
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    קבר מיכאל בן זיקרי
    קבר מיכאל בן זיקרי
    Michael Ben Zikri's funeral
    (Photo: Roee Idan)
    The Foreign Ministry's social media manager in the Arabic language, Yonatan Gonen, said that the post was shared all around the Arab and Muslim world and countless users were touched by Ben Zikri's story.
    "This is a touching story that couldn't leave users from Arab states indifferent, even those who are hostile to Israel," said Gonen.
    "Users from Morocco to Iraq, from Oman to Syria, could identify with the story and unanimously pointed at Michael's heroism on a very large scale, some even pointed Israel's coexistence as a role model."
    Ben Zikri, 45, drowned on Friday when he rescued three children and their aunt, all residents of the Bedouin town of Hura, after the four got caught in turbulence.
    He was laid to rest on Sunday in Ashkelon cemetery and dozens of Hura residents attended his funeral. Ben Zikri is survived by his wife and three children.
    3 View gallery
    הלווית מיכאל בן זיקרי
    הלווית מיכאל בן זיקרי
    Hura residents at Michael Ben Zikri's funeral
    (Photo: Rokach)
    Ben Zikri's childhood friend, Minister of Religious Affairs Ya'akov Avitan, eulogized him and spoke of his generous nature.
    "Anytime a person was in trouble, Michael was the first to help," said Avitan.
    "What he did on Friday wasn't an act of heroism to him, but a way of life. He gave all his life, and this time too, he was the first one to jump into the water."
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