(JNS.org) Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old American yeshiva student from Massachusetts, was among the three people killed in a Palestinian terror attack in Gush Etzion on Thursday.
Schwartz was riding in a van with five of his friends from Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh when a Palestinian terrorist driving in the opposite direction opened fire on the van and other cars stuck in traffic. The students were heading back to the yeshiva after handing out food to IDF soldiers.
“Ezra wanted nothing more than to help feed another person, to study Torah and his faith, and to live a life in peace. That opportunity was stolen from him and from us,” said a joint statement from Boston's Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Jewish Community Relations Council.
Two others—one Israeli and one Palestinian (not the terrorist)—were killed in Thursday's attack in Gush Etzion, and seven were lightly wounded.
Raised in a family of five children, Schwartz grew up in the Boston suburb of Sharon and was a recent graduate of Maimonides Jewish Day School in Brookline, Mass. He had attended Camp Yavneh, a Jewish summer camp in Northwood, N.H. The camp said on Facebook that its community is “heartbroken to share the sad news that long time camper and counselor, Ezra Schwartz, was murdered in a terrorist attack in Israel today.”
Schwartz was also a participant in the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Masa Israel Journey program.
“Ezra came to Israel not only to study but also to be a part of the vibrant Israeli experience. This makes his death even more tragic,” said Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Natan Sharansky.