Eli Kay, a 26-year-old immigrant to Israel from South Africa, was killed on Sunday by a Hamas terrorist who opened fire on Israeli civilians by the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Kay, a Western Wall guide from the central Israeli city of Modiin, was on his way to work when Fadi Abu Shkhaidem, a 42-year-old Hamas terrorist from Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp, shot him dead, also wounding four others.
“I mourn with his family and strengthen them at this difficult time,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressing his condolences to the Kay family. “Today’s terror attack is the second recent terrorist attack in Jerusalem. I have directed the security forces to prepare accordingly and remain alert, also over concern for copycat attacks.”
“We need to be on heightened alert and prevent future attacks,” Bennett added.
Kay, a lone soldier who moved to Israel in 2016 to join the Israel Defense Forces, served as a fighter in the paratroopers brigade. He was engaged and expected to marry his fiancée in six months.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Kay made “aliyah out of Zionism and was murdered in the Old City of Jerusalem in the country he loved so much.”
Kay’s girlfriend, Jen Schiff, told reporters that it was important for her to share how much Eli loved Israel and how he immigrated to the country by himself to fight for the nation. Eli’s parents and siblings followed his footsteps a year ago by moving to Israel.
“Eli loved this country. He fought for it. He had a few injuries during his army service, but he continued his service. He is the strongest person I have ever known, emotionally and physically. He always treated everyone with love and respect,” Schiff said.
President Isaac Herzog said that the “fact the terrorist was from Hamas ‘political wing’ compels the international community to recognize it as a terror group,” in reference to the UK’s decision Friday to fully proscribe the Palestinian militant group, including its political arm.
The Four wounded in the attack included Zeev Katzenelnbogen, who was moderately wounded, Rabbi Aaron Yehuda, who was described as hospitalized in serious condition, and two police officers who were released after receiving treatment.
Two Israeli Border Police officers were wounded in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday.