Vancouver man, 22, killed in Israel was ‘larger than life,’ says school head

Ben Mizrachi/Facebook

A B.C. man in southern Israel is confirmed dead following an attack by Hamas militants on a music festival, where hundreds of others were killed in what’s considered the worst civilian massacre in Israeli history.

Ben Mizrachi, 22, “was found amongst those murdered by Hamas terrorists,” Vancouver Granville MP Taleeb Noormohamed said Tuesday in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“A wonderful young man from my riding of VanGran.”

The Tribe of Nova musical festival near the Gaza border saw about 3,500 people, including Mizrachi, in attendance Saturday. That day, Hamas fighters out of Gaza stormed into Israel in a surprise attack that brought gunbattle to its streets.

As many as 260 were killed and others were taken hostage at the festival. A man from Montreal, Alexandre Haim, is also believed to have died there.

By Tuesday, at least 1,600 were killed on both sides in the Israel-Palestinian war, and the death toll was expected to grow as Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip with airstrikes that sent Palestinians fleeing.

King David High School in Vancouver, where Mizarachi attended school, took to Facebook saying the former student was gunned down.

In a previous post, the school said Mizarachi was missing and asked people to pray for him and his family.

“Please say extra prayers for King David alumnus, Ben Mizrachi, Class of 2018, who was attending an event in the South and is missing,” it said at the time.

Ezra Shanken, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, says he sat with Mizrachi’s family over the weekend after they received news their son was missing.

He says the family flew to Israel where they learned Mizrachi was among those killed.

“I am absolutely on the brink of if somebody pushes me a little bit, I’ll just start crying,” said Shanken. “And so, it really is a tragic time for our community.”

“Larger than life”

Mizarachi’s being remembered as “larger than life, with a big personality that matched his size,” wrote Russ Klein, head of the school, in the post Tuesday.

“He was full of joy, had a smile for everyone, and was always there to help. Ben was a friend to everyone and was so proud of his service in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces).”

Klein says one of his fondest memories with Mizarachi was on a grade 8 trip to Isreal, where the student was “daven at sunrise atop Masada, wearing his Kevin Bieksa Canucks Jersey.”

The school says Mizrachi’s funeral will take place on Wednesday at Kvutzat Yavneh, a religious kibbutz in the Central District of Israel.

“May his memory be a blessing,” added Noormohamed.

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-with files from The Canadian Press, Associated Press

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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