Friends, family and local dignitaries unveiled a memorial plaque honoring Eliyahu “Eli” Kay on Sunday, marking the anniversary of his murder in an Arab terror attack.
Kay, a 26-year-old South African-Israeli from Johannesburg, was gunned down by a Hamas terrorist near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on November 21, 2021. The anniversary on the Hebrew calendar fell on Sunday.
Kay worked as a guide for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which administers the holy site and studied. He was engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Jen Schiff.
Four other Israelis were injured in the attack.
Dignitaries attending included Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who serves as Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites.
A lone soldier who was in a paratrooper unit, Kay completed his military service in 2019 and studied in a Chabad yeshiva in Kiryat Gat. His parents and siblings subsequently moved to Israel as well.
The terrorist, Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, was killed by responding security personnel. Shkhaydam was a member of Hamas who taught Islamic studies at a school for boys in eastern Jerusalem.
During the ceremony, an ambucycle, which had been donated to United Hatzalah by an anonymous resident of the old city, was dedicated in Eli’s memory. The volunteer EMT who was the recipient of the vehicle, Yoni Ben Shimol, was the first to arrive at the scene of the terror attack where Eli was killed. Despite Ben Shimol’s efforts, Eli passed away shortly after due to the severity of the injuries he suffered.
United Hatzalah CEO Eli Pollak unveiled the ambucycle together with volunteer EMT Yoni Ben Shimol and Eli’s family and spoke about the meaning of the dedication: “In Jerusalem, over 800 United Hatzalah volunteers from all walks of life respond to medical emergencies around the clock, including to the horrific terror attack that took place a year ago in which Eli was tragically killed. We believe that an ambucycle that will be used to save lives, is the most fitting way to perpetuate Eli’s legacy. The ambucycle was given to our dear volunteer and resident of the Old City Yoni Ben Shimol, who was the first to respond to the terror attack a year ago and will continue saving lives in Eli’s memory.”
Eli’s brother Katriel spoke about the family’s emotion upon hearing of the donation of the ambucycle: “We’re really touched. It’s very important for us as a family to memorialize Eli and make sure that his memory is present at all times and in different places. We can’t think of anything that could be more befitting than an ambucycle, which is mobile and is going to be having an impact on people’s lives and saving lives.”
JewishPress.com News Desk contributed to this report.