Israel Mourns Seven Victims of Jerusalem Terror Attack
by Bruria Efune – chabad.org
Thousands of mourners gathered at cemeteries and shiva houses around Israel Saturday night and Sunday to pay their respects and offer their condolences to the families of the seven people who were murdered in a terrorist attack at a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Jerusalem on Friday night. Here are some remembrances of those who were murdered from their families and friends.
Raphael Ben-Eliyahu, 56
Hours after he was murdered in the Jerusalem terror attack on Friday evening, a grandson was born in California to Raphael Ben-Eliyahu. The new father, Kobi, arrived for the Sunday morning funeral.
supposed to come with Mom to the brit,” he cried. “In the end you’ll never get to hold him in your hands. Instead I’m taking you to the cemetery.”
Raphael Ben-Eliyahu had been returning from a Shabbat meal with his family, when they heard people calling for help. He ran to assist, not realizing that the Palestinian terrorist was still lurking nearby. Raphael was instantly killed. As the terrorist continued to fire, Raphael’s youngest son, Matan, jumped to shield his mother with his body, and was critically injured.
Seven civilians were killed, and several injured before the terrorist was neutralized by Israeli security forces.
“We were with you in the last moments,” cried Ohr Ben-Eliyahu. “We went from Kiddush to Kaddish. I will never forget those moments. We said goodbye to you on the ground. How did you feel there in the last moments? What were you thinking? Who will I watch Beitar games with from today on, father? Who will be waiting for me when I come home from work, to eat with me? I didn’t believe in my wildest dreams that you wouldn’t be at my wedding.”
The funeral was attended by close family and friends, who hugged tightly and sobbed out loud while Ohr continued, “I will miss you in everything in my life. In everything I would ask and consult you, even before I went to friends. I don’t have a hole in my heart, I have a crater—and it will never be able to close. Half of my heart is gone. I will miss you. You will be missed to me with every breath. I will do everything to raise your soul as high as possible. I will tell everyone what a great person you were. I did not have enough time to say goodbye to you when you were on the ground. I told you that I love you and that I am sorry.”
Between tears, Ohr asked his father to help his youngest son who was in the hospital fighting for his life. “Father—Matan! He will be OK your soul will watch over him. He will be fine.”
Shaul Chai, 68
68-year old Shaul Chai was visiting Neve Yaakov for Shabbat and was on the way to a Torah class when he was murdered. He was laid to rest in a private funeral in Givat Shaul on Sunday. Shaul Chai was a much beloved gabbai at Zechor LeAvraham synagogue in Pisgat Zev.
On Facebook, Mordechai Sayag, a young friend, mourned Chai. “Shaul taught me what it meant to be modest, and to have respect. He loved every person as they were. Every student or scholar, every worshipper—young or old—who came to the synagogue, immediately received his smile and greeting. I never heard him raise his voice or speak in a disrespectful manner.”
Sayag wrote about Chai’s meticulous habits, faithfully opening the synagogue at precisely 5:55 every morning. “Dear Shaul, my heart does not understand and does not believe that we will not see you again. You were murdered on Shabbat evening, while you were going to a Torah class. How symbolic and how perfect—you, who loved the Torah so much, were murdered on your way to Torah class. On Shabbat Kodesh. I am sure that the gates of heaven were open for you and were just waiting for you to come and enter. And you, with your humble smile, enter the Hall of Fame of the People of Israel, quietly and humbly, as if you don’t understand why you deserved it.”
Vered Gavriel wrote that she became closer to Judaism because of how Chai warmly welcomed to her and her family, making them feel at home in the synagogue. “Dear Shaul Chai, I’m shocked and deeply saddened—what a great loss to everyone who merited to know your character and personality! You always helped, explained, brought close, cared from the heart, it never seemed that you were angry! You just helped everyone, even for those who were forgotten! Even those who no one helps—you were their lifeline! No one was invisible in your eyes! A modest man in his character and manners, with the most beautiful demeanor! Thanks to you, my father would come to the synagogue, you made him feel like he belonged.”
Asher Natan Morely, 14
The youngest victim, Asher Natan Morely, was fourteen. He too was on his way to a Torah class, where he planned to meet friends. Morely was a student in Yeshiva Avni Kodesh, founded by Rabbi Chaim and Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi. The yeshiva mixes Torah study with agriculture, and provides a loving atmosphere for young men who don’t fit in the typical system.
Morely was laid to rest immediately after Shabbat, accompanied by his family and yeshiva friends. Rabbanit Mizrachi wrote that Morely was younger than the other boys in the yeshiva, but had begged to join. “He must came one day and said, ‘I’m afraid I will break down. Can I stay here? I want to be a good Jew!’ ”
Mizrachi said the yeshiva boys spoke about their young friend as a boy with “the innocence of an angel,” “exceptional respect for his parents,” and who “helps everyone with a light on his face.”
His teacher, Rabbi Moshe Kook, described, “A boy with a heart of gold, just a sweet guy, sensitive, kind-hearted, gentle, good manners. A boy made of honey.”
“I want so much to sit down with you for some deep conversation over a huge package of pickles, but you are like a pure sacrifice. You’ve probably already completed your mission… You’re a huge light, I’m just seeing it now.”
Morely’s teacher, HaRav Yonatan, broke down at the funeral, and kneeled over the grave, crying, “Kadosh! Kadosh! Kadosh! – Holy! Holy! Holy!”
Eli and Nathalie Mizrachi, 48 and 45
Nathalie Mizrachi finished her shift in the cafeteria of Hadassah hospital, went to check on her elderly mother, and then went with Eli, her husband of two years, to his parents’ house for the Shabbat meal. They were seated around the table when they heard gunshots outside. In what friends and family describe characteristic, Nathalie and Eli ran outside to help. Nathalie was shot while giving CPR to one of the wounded, and Eli while calling the police.
The couple’s neighbors describe them as “golden people, with golden hearts.” Hadassah Hospital Center wrote that Nathalie would take the time to ask patients how they were doing and listen to their stories.
The mayor of Beit Shemesh, Aliza Bloch, paid tribute to the couple at their funeral after Shabbat. “If I could choose one word to describe you in this terrible moment, the moment we are unable to hold back the tears, the word would be ‘heart.’ The heart has motivated you all your lives. Two years ago the heart connected you. You got married hoping to create a loving and warm nest for yourselves. It was amazing to hear the dedication with which Natalie and Eli supported and helped dear Tamar, Nathalie’s mother. Nathalie would care for her mother every day for everything she needed. A 75-year-old mother who is burying her 46-year-old daughter tonight. Unfathomable.”
Ilya Sosansky, 25
Ilya Sosansky was a and beloved popular DJ. His friends eulogized him online, ahead of his funeral, describing a young man filled with a joy for life, who couldcheer anyone up.
“You were a boy that was pure good, a ticking bomb of energy who just wanted to be wrapped in a hug,” wrote Asher Ezran. Another friend, Adi Yona, wrote, “You are a charm, a walking smile, a good soul who only did good. My heart is broken. I can’t digest that you are not here. Where are you?”
Roy Sasson wrote, “Katanchik [little one], know that inside I cried for you. An amazing soul that was taken from this world. You had a huge heart. There is no one who didn’t see it.”
Abir Kara had previously been a manager at Sosansky’s place of work. “It’s so hard to talk about you in the past tense. A charming boy, talented, full of joie de vivre, loving people, with a lot of modesty and humility. You’d say, ‘What’s going on boss?’ Everyone was your boss, because you didn’t have an ounce of ego.”
Irena Korolova, 59
Irena Korolova arrived in Israel six years ago and tended to the elderly in a nursing home. She was walking past the synagogue in Neve Yaakov when the terrorist killed her.
The Friday night terror attack was the largest since 2008, when 8 yeshiva students were killed by a gunman.