Married couple, 14-year old among victims of deadly Jerusalem terror attack

The fatalities have been identified as Eli and Natalie Mizrahi, Rafael Ben-Eliyahu, Asher Natan, Shaul Chai, Irina Korolova and Ilya Sosonsky. Three additional people were wounded in the attack and remain hospitalized.

Family and friends attend the funeral of 14-year-old Asher Natan, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem's Neve Yaakov neighborhood on Friday evening, in the Beit Shemesh Cemetery on Jan. 28, 2023. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
Family and friends attend the funeral of 14-year-old Asher Natan, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem's Neve Yaakov neighborhood on Friday evening, in the Beit Shemesh Cemetery on Jan. 28, 2023. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.

At the conclusion of Friday night prayers, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on a crowd in Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood, killing seven and wounding three. The terrorist was pursued by Israeli police and killed after a short exchange of fire.

The victims’ identities have been released for publication, and include a married couple and a 14-year-old boy:

Eli and Natalie Mizrahi 

The couple, aged 48 and 45, respectively, had been married for two years. Speaking to Channel 12 on Saturday morning, Eli’s father Shimon said that they had spoken with the shooter.

“We were in the middle of our Shabbat meal. My son and his wife heard the gunshots, we all did. They went outside to see what was happening and tried to help the wounded. Apparently, at some point, they spotted the terrorist and exchanged a few words with him. And then he just pulled out a gun and shot them both,” he said.

At their funeral on Saturday, Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch said, “Your hearts connected the two of you in life. Nine years together. You wanted to grow a family and teach them your ability to give. Your hearts also connect you in death. Today you are teaching your ability to give to all the children of Beit Shemesh.”

Natalie worked for 20 years in the food department at Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital. According to Ella Sakovich, Natalie’s aunt and a longtime employee in the hospital’s financial operations department, “Natalie immigrated to Israel with her parents and her sister in the 1990s, and from then until today, she took care of both parents with love, around the clock.”

Hadassah Medical Organization CEO professor Yoram Weiss said, “The Hadassah employees all bow their heads at this difficult time, mourning the loss of dear Nathalie and her husband, Eliyahu. Nathalie was part of a large family, the Hadassah family … Everyone who worked alongside her speaks of a warm woman, full of caring and a desire to do good to the patients she met every day; her co-workers were not surprised when they heard that she rushed to help the injured last night.”

Rafael Ben-Eliyahu

Ben-Eliyahu, 56, is survived by a wife and three children. He worked for the state-owned Israel Post. He was described by his acquaintances as a modest and meek individual.

Asher Natan

Natan, 14, was the youngest victim of the shooting. Natan lived in a building very close to the synagogue together with his seven siblings. He had left home following the Friday night meal to meet up with friends. When his parents heard the shooting, his father, Aharon, ran out of the house to find him.

“I always wanted so much for things to be good for you. Now you’re in a good place for eternity,” said Aharon at the funeral. “Asher didn’t die, he only parted from his body. His soul is eternal. The unity here is a giant embrace for us,” he added.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said, “He was murdered with unimaginable cruelty by a terrorist who did not stop even when he saw a pure-eyed boy. We’ll do everything in order to not return to the terrible days when fear ruled the streets.”

Dozens of local worshippers gathered around Natan’s house on Saturday evening and lit candles in his memory.

Shaul Chai

Chai, 68, was the gabbai (sexton) of the Zechor L’Avraham synagogue in nearby Pisgat Zeev. He had eaten the Shabbat meal at a relative’s home and had been walking back to Pisgat Zeev for a Torah lesson at his synagogue when he was murdered. A friend of his commented, “He was everyone’s father and helped anyone who needed it. There was never a man who asked something of him and he told him no.”

Irina Korolova

Korolova, 59, was a Ukrainian citizen who came to Israel six years ago, and worked as a private nurse in Neve Yaakov. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy commented on her death, saying, “We share with Israel pain after the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Among the victims is a Ukrainian woman. Sincere condolences to the families of the victims. The crimes were carried out with cynicism on International Holocaust Day. Terrorism must have no place in today’s world, neither in Israel nor in Ukraine.”

Ilya Sosonsky

Sosonsky, 26, also a Ukrainian national, was a resident of Jerusalem and a locally-known DJ and musician. He leaves behind his parents and four siblings.

Three more people were wounded in the attack and were hospitalized as of Sunday morning.

A 24-year-old man, identified as the son of Rafael Ben-Eliyahu, was sedated and on life support in Haddasah Hospital. Another victim, aged 15, was listed as being in moderate condition at Hadassah. The final victim, a 65-year-old woman, was hospitalized in Shaare Tzedek Hospital, where she was listed as being in moderate condition.

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