“He was a golden boy, always smiling,” said a friend of Eliyahu David Kay, who was killed in Sunday’s shooting attack.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Hebrew language media revealed that the first victim of a shooting terror attack committed in Jerusalem’s Old City by a Hamas operative on Sunday morning was a new immigrant from South Africa.
Eliyahu David Kay, 26, made Aliyah in 2017 and worked as a guide at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
The Johannesburg native studied at the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand before moving to the Jewish State. He served as a lone soldier in the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade and was engaged to be married.
Kay was leaving the Western Wall with several other men on Sunday morning after praying, and was shot by a Hamas-backed terrorist armed with a submachine gun while still wearing his prayer shawl.
Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, said in a joint statement with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation that Kay’s death had left those who worked with him “in tears and pain.”
Kay “brightened everyone’s [day], and did his work with loyalty and devotion,” they said.
Menachem Goldberg, who served with Kay in the military, told Walla that he was “crying and shaking” after hearing the news about his friend’s death.
“He was a golden boy, always smiling,” Goldberg said.
Yossi Giller, another friend from Kay’s army service, said he was “the type of person who was always looking to help [others], in any way.”
Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, the perpetrator of the attack, was from the Shuafat refugee camp in eastern Jerusalem and worked as an Islamic studies teacher in an Israeli school in the city.
Hamas praised Abu Shkhaydam for his “heroic operation.”
Rabbi Zeev Katzenelbogen was moderately wounded in the shooting and is conscious. Rabbi Aharon Emergreen was seriously wounded and is currently hospitalized in critical condition.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement on Sunday morning that the incident marked the “second recent terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” citing a stabbing attack last Thursday which saw two men wounded.
“I have directed the security forces to prepare accordingly and be alert, also over concern for copycat attacks. We need to be on heightened alert and prevent future attacks,” Bennett said.