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SA-born man killed in Israel: The Western Wall meant everything to him, says father

Eli Kay's life revolves around the Western Wall. It was the physical manifestation of his faith, the location of his day's labor, the hallowed spot where he committed to serve the Holy Land - and, on Sunday, it became the location of the bullet that ended his life. On Sunday, the South African was shot as he approached the Western Wall to pray, in an alleged terror assault in Israel's capital. He was subsequently pronounced dead at Hadassah Hospital.Eli Kay. Facebook/Eli Kay

Eli served as a tour guide in Jerusalem's Western Wall Plaza.

The Western Wall, or Kotel, is the Jewish people's most sacred location on Earth. The landmark is the last remnants of the wall that encircled the Temple Mount, the location of Jerusalem's temples. The place is considered sacred, and Jews from all over the globe go there to pray and leave messages between the wall's stones.

Eli's father, Avi Kay, last saw his son near the Western Wall.Eliyahu David Kay

The family had accompanied Eli to Israel after attending his Israeli army graduation ceremony at the same location. Avi met Eli in the plaza on Thursday and spent the day poring over maps and plans of the wall, admiring the beauty and detail of the old construction.

However, the place had importance beyond his everyday duties - it was here that Eli graduated as an Israeli army solider, having followed an ambition of becoming a paratrooper. Prior to quitting the armed services, he had worked his way up to platoon commander. Eli had joined a kibbutz upon his discharge from the IDF, where he developed a love for "what it meant to labor with the holiness of the land." Eli had taken a tour guide school while there and, after two years, had relocated to the capital city.

Avi recalls how Eli lived out his principles every day via his job at the Western Wall. He remembers a cleaner of Arab ancestry whom Eli always greeted pleasantly – as he did everyone.


SA-born man killed in Israel: 'The Western Wall meant everything to him,' says father | News24

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Eli Hadassah Hospital Israel Western Wall Western Wall Plaza


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