A Vancouver-area MP says a man traveling alongside him was among those killed when Hamas militants attacked sites in Israel early Saturday.
Ben Mizrachi “was found among those killed by Hamas terrorists,” Vancouver Granville MP Taleeb Noormohamed said on X, formerly known as Twitter, early Tuesday.
Mizrahi had been reported missing by people close to him following incursions by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.
He has relatives in the Noormohamed area who gave the MP permission to speak publicly about his death.
Violence continues in the Middle East days after surprise attacks on Israel, which has responded with attacks on Gaza.
In the four days since the violence began, more than 1,800 people have been reported dead on both sides.
‘A friend for everyone’
Mizrachi graduated from King David High School in Vancouver in 2018. On Tuesday, the school said on its Facebook page that the 22-year-old was shot and killed while attending a music festival.
“Ben was larger than life, with a big personality to match his size,” she said the school post.
“He was full of joy, had a smile for everyone and was always there to help. Ben was a friend to everyone.”
King David High School’s Facebook post also described how, on an eighth-grade trip to Israel in 2013, Mizrachi recited liturgical prayers at dawn atop an ancient fortification on a rocky plateau while wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey.
He added that Mizrachi was proud of his service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the national military force.
Rabbi Jonathan Infeld of Beth Israel Synagogue in Vancouver and a neighbor of the Mizrachi family told Breaking:’ As It Happens that the family was informed that he used his training as a doctor in the IDF to treat the wounded at the festival of music before he died.
A wonderful young man from my driving #VanGran – Ben Mizrachi – was found among those killed by Hamas terrorists.
My deepest condolences and prayers are with his family, his friends, his loved ones and his loved ones. community.
May his memory be a blessing.
Mizrachi is the second Canadian confirmed killed in the conflict, and three others are known to be missing. The other confirmed death is a 33-year-old Montreal man who was killed in the Hamas attack at the same music festival Mizrachi was attending.
“I can’t imagine the terror”
“I can’t imagine the terror he experienced,” said Aron Csaplaros, who has known Mizrachi since the two were teenagers. “He was just there at a music festival as an innocent human being, trying to enjoy life.”
Csaplaros, regional director of B’Nai Brith Canada, an independent Jewish human rights organization, said he had not seen Mizrachi in person recently because Mizrachi had been in Israel for an extended period.
He said Mizrachi played on the high school basketball team and was always smiling and laughing. He has three siblings and his parents are active members of Vancouver’s Jewish community, Csaplaros said.
“It’s just a huge, huge loss for the Vancouver Jewish community,” he said. “It’s a very close-knit community. It’s very painful. We feel this loss very, very deeply.”
Ezra Shanken, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, said Mizrachi’s family flew to Israel after their son was reported missing. Once there, they learned that Mizrachi was among those killed, he said.
Shanken said he is “emotionally numb” after learning of the young man’s death.
“I’m absolutely on the verge that if someone pushes me a little bit, I’m going to start crying,” Shanken said. “…It really is a tragic time for our community.”
King David High School officials said a funeral for Mizrachi would be held Wednesday at Kvutzat Yavne, a kibbutz in Israel.