‘Loving, caring and kind’

‘Loving, caring and kind’

Eli Kay.
Eli Kay.

AS tributes pour in for Eliyahu “Eli” Kay who was shot dead by a Hamas terrorist in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday morning, Jewish groups are renewing their calls for the Australian government to proscribe Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organisation.

Kay, who had recently made aliyah from South Africa, was a student in Australia in 2015 and has family here. He has been remembered as a loving, generous and special soul, with a deep love for both the community and Israel.

The 25-year-old, who was soon to be married, was the nephew of Melbourne’s Rabbi Didi Levin and his wife Chevi. Hearing the news, Chevi took to Facebook, writing, “The hole that has been gouged in the fabric of our family is forever.”

Eliyahu Kay, killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem on November 21, 2021.

Having to break the tragic news to his young cousins, she wrote of “the loss of our children’s innocence – it hurts that we were forced to strip them of it”.

“You lived for your people and your country. And you died for your people and your country,” she wrote, “We are forever in your debt.”

Another cousin of Kay, Reeva Brown, who previously lived in Melbourne where her husband Rabbi Yehudah Brown was interim rabbi at Caulfield Shule, also took to social media in shock, writing, “Feeling sickened about your murder. Love you forever.”

In 2015, Kay studied at the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne. He has been remembered as popular and friendly, with one former teacher commenting that he was always highly motivated, while another said he loved learning and had a deep appreciation and love for Israel.

In a statement, Leibler Yavneh College noted that many graduates who went to Israel during their gap years had befriended Kay, and remembered him as “loving, caring, kind and courageous – embodying the attributes that drew so many to him in friendship”.

Mourners carry the body of 26-year-old Eliyahu Kay during his funeral in Jerusalem the day after he was killed by a Palestinian gunman in a terror attack, on November 22, 2021. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP

Caulfield Shule’s Rabbi Daniel Rabin, who is also originally from Johannesburg, remembered Kay as a child, telling The AJN, “Growing up in South Africa, the Kay family was synonymous with community and they played an integral part within shules, schools and general Jewish community life.

“As a Torah Academy alumnus myself, this news sent shock waves to all past students and current students,” he said, adding, “We can all agree the world lost a special person and his life and achievements will certainly continue to inspire for many years to come.”

Kay was the first Israeli civilian to be killed in a terror attack in over six months, since the conflict with Gaza in May.

The shooting, which took place near an entrance to the Temple Mount, was countered with police fire, officers killing Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, a 42-year-old member of the political wing of Hamas.

In condemning “the deplorable and cold blooded murder”, and the attempted murder of other Israelis “who were targeted simply because the killer thought they were Jewish and therefore deserved to die”, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said the attack “puts paid to the false notion that any part of Hamas can be viewed as legitimate and uninvolved in terror activity”.

The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) noted that Hamas in its entirety has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the US, Canada, the EU and the UK and renewed its calls for the Australian government to follow suit.

ZFA president Jeremy Leibler recognised Kay’s dedication to the state of Israel, and said, “His loss is collective as well as personal,” while ZFA CEO Ginette Searle said, “Eli’s story was one of a committed and genuine Zionist. We mourn with his family and community.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry also condemned the terror attack. “We express our unwavering solidarity with Israel in the face of the threat of terrorism,” wrote co-CEO Alex Ryvchin.

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