A Vancouver-area MP says a man from his riding was among those killed when Hamas militants attacked sites in Israel early Saturday.
Ben Mizrachi “was found amongst those murdered by Hamas terrorists,” Taleeb Noormohamed, MP for Vancouver Granville, said on X, formerly known as Twitter, early Tuesday.
Mizrachi had been reported missing by people close to him following the incursions by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.
He has family in Noormohamed’s riding who gave the MP permission to speak publicly about his death.
Violence continues in the Middle East days after the surprise attacks on Israel, which has responded with strikes on Gaza.
In four days since the violence began, more than 1,800 people have been reported dead between the two sides.
‘A friend to 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 that matched his size,” said the school’s post.
“He was full of joy, had a smile for everyone and was always there to help. Ben was a friend to everyone.”
The King David High School Facebook post also described how, on a Grade 8 trip to Israel in 2013, Mizrachi recited liturgical prayers at sunrise on top of an ancient fortification on a rock plateau while wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey.
It added that Mizrachi was proud of his service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the national military force.
Rabbi Jonathan Infeld with the Beth Israel Synagogue in Vancouver and a neighbour to the Mizrachi family told CBC News’ As It Happens that the family was informed he used his training as a medic with the IDF to tend to wounded people at the music festival before he died.
Heartbreaking news: <br><br>A wonderful young man from my riding of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VanGran?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VanGran</a> – Ben Mizrachi – was found amongst those murdered by Hamas terrorists. <br><br>My heartfelt condolences and prayers are with his family, his friends, loved ones & the community. <br><br>May his memory be a blessing.
Mizrachi is the the second Canadian confirmed dead in the conflict, with three others known to be missing. The other confirmed fatality is a 33-year-old Montreal man who was killed in the Hamas attack on the same music festival Mizrachi was attending.
‘I can’t imagine the terror’
“I can’t imagine the terror he went through,” said Aron Csaplaros, who has known Mizrachi since the two were teens. “He was just there at a music festival as an innocent human being, trying to enjoy life.”
Csaplaros, who is a regional director with B’Nai Brith Canada, an independent Jewish human rights organization, said he had not seen Mizrachi in person recently as Mizrachi had been in Israel for a lengthy period.
He said Mizrachi played on the basketball team in high school 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 tight-knit community. It’s very painful. We feel this loss very, very deeply.”
Ezra Shanken, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, said Mizrachi’s family flew to Israel after their son was reported missing. Once there, they learned Mizrachi was among those killed, he said.
Shanken said he is “emotionally numb” after hearing about the young man’s death.
“I am absolutely on the brink of, if somebody pushes me a little bit, I’ll just start crying,” said Shanken. “… It really is a tragic time for our community.”
Officials with King David High School said a funeral would be held for Mizrachi at Kvutzat Yavne, a kibbutz in lsrael, on Wednesday.