Remembering Eli Kay, victim of Jerusalem terrorist attack

i24NEWS

4 min read
Eli Kay, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem on November 21, 2021.
Eli Kay's Facebook ProfileEli Kay, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem on November 21, 2021.

'What an absolute honor that it was Eli, who came to Israel, who brought all of us to Israel,' his father says

The father of Eli Kay - killed in a Jerusalem terrorist attack in 2021 - feels “absolute pride” in his son, he told i24NEWS, speaking on Wednesday as Israel remembers its fallen on Memorial Day.

Avi Kay joined David Matlin on "Zoom In" to share the story of the life and murder of his son, who had been working in the Western Wall as a tour guide for only about three months before the attack.

Eli, an immigrant from South Africa living in the central Israeli city Modi’in, was on his way to begin work on the morning of November 21 when he was gunned down by a Hamas terrorist in Jerusalem’s Old City.

“The tragedy about it for us was that we didn’t even know about it,” his father said, despite hearing about a terrorist attack in Jerusalem.

“I actually saw a video of my son lying on the floor – we didn’t even realize it was him,” Kay told Matlin.

“The news was incorrect,” he said. “They said the person who was killed was 30; Eli was 25, and therefore we were certain it wasn’t him.”

But because Kay’s son did not answer calls, he traveled to Jerusalem with his wife on a hunch. His other son found out Eli was a victim of the attack while they were on the way.

His funeral was attended by hundreds who came to pay their respects.

“What an absolute honor that it was our son, Eli, who came to Israel, who brought all of us to Israel," Kay said.

Eli’s two brothers followed his footsteps into the Israeli army, and Kay said Eli's younger sister is drafting this upcoming Sunday.

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“As much as I wish we weren’t having this interview for the reasons we’re having it, we are so proud that we are part of Am Israel and Eretz Israel,” Kay said, using the Hebrew terms for the People of Israel and Land of Israel, respectfully.

Kay said his children "have embraced the special gift that we have: to be Jews living in our country, being able to serve in our military, to be free and proud as Jews, whether you’re religious or not.”

“Loving the country, introducing it to people and sharing the special gift that we have" honors Eli's legacy.

Eli came to Israel from South Africa at the age of 19 to study in a Jewish school, or Yeshiva, in the southern Israeli city Kiryat Gat.

He later joined Israel’s Paratroopers Brigade for his military service, serving in a commanding position as a sergeant, his father said.

After his release, he worked in agriculture in southern Israel for two years as part of the Shomer Hachadash organization, a group dedicated to protecting Israeli farms and upholding Zionist ideals.

During his second year after military service, Eli served as a manager in the organization, “where he introduced youngsters who were leaving the army into agriculture.”

The program helped recently-released soldiers “connecting with the land that Eli loved so much,” helping them reintegrate into society before attending university.

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