Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Infantry Sgt. Roberto Farah-Usa, 21, who foiled a terrorist attack in Gush Etzion in March, has been named one of the 14 individuals honored with lighting a torch at Israel’s traditional Independence Day ceremony, scheduled to take place in Jerusalem next week. This year, the ceremony’s theme is “civilian heroes,” honoring those who prevented terrorist attacks against Israelis.
Farah-Usa immigrated to Israel with his family from Colombia when he was seven years old, and the family made its home in the central Israeli town of Tel Mond. A solider with the Kfir Brigade, Farah-Usa and his unit were deployed to the volatile Gush Etzion area three months ago.
On March 18, he noticed a car with Israeli license plates from which smoke was billowing. “The driver was nervous. He started yelling at me in Arabic, took off his belt, pulled out a knife and tried to stab me. When he was just two meters away from me, I shot him. I had no time to fire in midair, as he would have managed to stab me,” Farah-Usa recalled.
Firing six or seven rounds, Farah-Usa killed the knife-yielding terrorist. “In those seconds I knew what I needed to do — my life was in imminent danger,” Farah-Usa said.
After being selected to participate in the Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony, Farah-Usa’s family “were very moved by the gesture and said they can’t wait to attend the ceremony,” he said.