Thousands of Israelis gathered at the Modi’in cemetery on Monday to accompany terror victim Eli Kay on his final journey.
Hamas terrorist Fadi Abu-Shkadem fired at Israelis in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, murdering Eli Kay and wounding four others.
Eliyahu David Kay, 26, an Oleh (new immigrant) from South Africa who served in the IDF’s Paratroops Division, was engaged to be married in a few months.
Kay, an employee of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, was on his way to work as a guide at the Kotel when he was murdered by Abu-Shkadem.
His parents, Avi and Deborah, immigrated to Israel and do not have a large family. They issued a request saying “it will be so comforting for them to see the love of Israel, and how everyone together loves and shares the pain and loss.” Thousands of Israelis responded to the request.
Chief Rabbi David Lau, Minister of Immigration and Absorption Pnina Tamano-Shata, Minister of Culture Hili Tropper and Minister of Diaspora Nachman Shai, were present at the solemn procession.
Tikva Goldstein, who made Aliyah to Israel from New Jersey, is Kay’s sister’s close friend. She told TPS at the funeral that she was there because she “is part of Medinat Yisrael [state of Israel]” and the attack “felt so close to home,” as she was a student in the Old City, and “it could have been me.”
“It feels it is my responsibility to be here for all those who can’t,” she said.
Eitan Libien, also hailing from New Jersey before moving to Israel, said that he was at the funeral “to pay his respects.”
He is slated to enlist in the IDF as a Lone Soldier in the near future, and as Kay was also a Lone Soldier, “he felt like he had to come.”
Trevor Asserson, originally from the UK and now a resident of Jerusalem and a friend of the Kay family, said Eli “was tragically shot down as a young man shortly before he was due to get married.”
“Thousands of people here, who have come from all over Israel to show their feelings for him [Kay], many of them have no connection to him, but they are very moved by the tragic circumstances of his death and they want to be here with him and members of the family and to comfort them during this terrible time, “he said.