September 19, 2019

Jewish Community Remembers the American-Israeli Who Tried to Stop One of the 9/11 Hijackings

Photo from Flickr.

Members of the Jewish community issued tweets on Sept. 11 to honor Danny Lewin, an American-Israeli who served in the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) counterterrorism unit who attempted to stop the hijacking of Flight 11 during the 9/11 terror attacks.

StandWithUs tweeted on Sept. 11 that “Danny Lewin was the 1st victim of 9/11. His Israeli Special Forces training told him that something wasn’t right aboard American Airlines Flight 11. Deciding to tackle the terrorists, Danny was fatally stabbed trying to save everyone on the plane.”

Judea Pearl, chancellor professor of computer science at UCLA, National Academy of Sciences member and Daniel Pearl Foundation president, also had tweets honoring Lewin and pro-Israel activist and IDF reservist Hananya Naftali also had tweets honoring Lewin:

According to Slate’s adaptation of Molly Knight Raskin’s 2013 book “No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet,” Lewin, 31, was set to fly out from Boston’s Logan Airport to Los Angeles that morning. He intervened when the terrorists started their attempt to hijack the plane.

“From what we heard from the Americans, the hijackers attacked one of the stewardesses and Danny rose to protect her and prevent them from entering the cockpit,” Lewin’s brother, Yonatan, told Arutz Sheva on Sept. 9, adding that Lewin was eventually “overcome and bled to death on the floor. Two additional flight attendants were knifed and the captain was murdered.”

The 9/11 Commission concluded that Satam al-Suqami was most likely the one that murdered Lewin, with the time of death being around 8:15-20 a.m. The terrorists flew the plane into the North Tower at 8:46 a.m.

“It is a consolation to us that Danny fought,” Yonatan said. “We see it as an act of heroism that a person sacrifices his life in order to save others.”

Lewin was originally born in Denver and moved to Israel at 14 years of age with his family. When he turned 18, he served in the Sayet Mat’kal, known as the IDF’s “most elite counterterrorism unit,” per Slate.

In the late 1990s, Lewin co-founded the tech firm Akamai, which enhanced the Internet through its ability to prevent computer servers from crashing and make web traffic move at a higher speed. Slate notes that Akamai is currently “responsible for more than 30 percent of the world’s Internet traffic, and for keeping giants like iTunes and Facebook running smoothly.”

Friends have always pondered the what-ifs,” CNN’s Told Leopold wrote in 2013. “Lewin may have finished his Ph.D., something that always nagged at him. Friends thought he could have entered Israeli politics. Or he could have become a high-tech household name, like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.” Tom Leighton, the other co-founder of Akamai, told Leopold that Lewin’s potential was “limitless.”