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Jerusalem Mayor Stops Attacker, Becomes Meme

Nir Barkat is the Cory Booker of Israel

Yair Rosenberg
February 23, 2015
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Yesterday, in Jerusalem’s Tzahal Square, an ultra-Orthodox man was stabbed by an 18-year-old Palestinian. Video of the incident showed pedestrians running away from the scene as the assailant brandished his knife in their direction. But then, something unusual happened. Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, and his staff, who happened to be in the area on their way to a meeting at the municipality headquarters, subdued the attacker, with Barkat, a venture capitalist and former paratrooper in the Israeli army, tackling him to the ground–and then proceeding to direct traffic.

Watch the entire incident in the video below (Barkat is the one in the white shirt):

Much like after then-Newark mayor Cory Booker saved a woman from a burning building in April 2012, it didn’t take long for Barkat’s heroics to become an internet sensation:

For his part, Barkat downplayed the incident, telling Israel’s Channel 2 he knew the teen wouldn’t attack him because his bodyguards had their guns trained on him.

With my team, heroes!

— Nir Barkat (@NirBarkat) February 22, 2015

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.