Jerusalem synagogue massacre: a look at the victims

January 30, 2023 by Pesach Benson
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The Jerusalem neighbourhood of Neve Yaakov was left in mourning after a Palestinian terrorist gunned down people outside the Ateret Abraham Synagogue on Friday night. Seven people were killed and three were injured in the deadliest Palestinian attack in years.

A memorial to Eli and Natali Mizrahi set up by Natali’s colleagues at the Hadassah University Hospital-Mount Scopus, in Jerusalem on Jan. 29, 2023. The two were among seven killed in a Palestinian terror attack on Friday night. Photo by TPS.

The Israeli Police sealed off the home of Alqam Khayri, the terrorist who was killed after firing at police officers on Sunday afternoon. And the Security Cabinet already decided to reinforce the Israeli military and police in Judea and Samaria, among other measures.

But these responses were not at the forefront of the grieving families.

Eli and Natali Mizrahi, a couple in their 40s, had been married for two years. Residents of the central Israeli town of Beit Shemesh, they were spending the Sabbath with Eli’s father, Shimon.

During dinner, they heard gunshots and ran outside to help.

Natali worked for 20 years in the food department of Hadassah University Hospital-Mount Scopus — where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

“Everyone who worked alongside her speaks of a warm woman, full of caring and a desire to do good to the patients she met every day, so her co-workers were not surprised when they heard that she rushed to help the injured last night,” said Dr. Yoram Weiss, Director-General of the Hadassah Medical Organization.

Fourteen-year-old Asher Natan was the youngest of the victims. Following the family’s Sabbath dinner, he went out to meet some friends.

“He was murdered with unimaginable cruelty by a terrorist who did not stop even when he saw a pure-eyed boy,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. “No one can describe the terrible pain of parents who have to bury their son but I want to tell them — Israel will always overcome.”

Natan was buried in Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives Cemetery.

Raphael Ben-Eliyahu was a 56-year-old who worked for the postal service. He was buried in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul Cemetery and leaves behind three children. One of his sons, Matan, was injured in the attack. According to Hadassah, Matan is conscious but in serious condition.

Shaul Chai was a synagogue sexton in the nearby community of Pisgat Zeev. The 68-year-old Chai was shot while walking back to Pisgat Zeev after having dinner with a relative.

Ilya Sosansky, worked as a bartender in downtown Jerusalem’s Cactus 9 bar. Sosansky was on his motorcycle heading to the bar when he was gunned down.

Former Knesset member Abir Kara, who knew Ilya, tweeted, “It’s so hard to talk about you in the past tense. You’re a lovely boy. Talented, full of joy for life, loving people, with a lot of modesty and humility,” adding “You didn’t have an ounce of ego. You gave everyone a good feeling.”

The seventh fatality was Irina Korolova, a 59-year-old Ukrainian national who had worked as a caregiver in Neve Yaakov for six years.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his condolences on Twitter.

“We share [Israel’s] pain after the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Among the victims is a [Ukrainian] woman,” Zelensky tweeted on Saturday. “Sincere condolences to the victims’ families. The crimes were cynically committed on the [International] Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

Korolova’s funeral arrangements are not clear.

The Friday night attack was the deadliest since August, 2011, when 10 terrorists from Gaza’s “Popular Resistance Committees” infiltrated Israel near Eilat from the Egyptian Sinai. The attack included an anti-tank rocket being fired at an Israeli car, a bomb detonated next to a military patrol, a suicide bomber and a shootout. Six Israeli civilians, two Israeli security personnel, five Egyptian soldiers were killed and 40 Israelis were injured.

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