Haredi Jewish men look at the scene of an explosion at a bus stop in Jerusalem, Israel, on Nov. 23, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad
Hundreds of mourners gathered in Jerusalem on Wednesday to pay their final respects to a Canadian-Israeli yeshiva student murdered in a bombing in the Israeli capital earlier in the day.
Aryeh Shechopek, 16, was heading to his yeshiva at Moshav Beit Meir outside Jerusalem when the first of two explosive devices — both embedded with nails and marbles to maximize damage — were detonated remotely near a bus stop by the entrance to Jerusalem. He was declared dead after being evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
Some 26 people were reported injured, some seriously, in the twin bombings, including a friend of Shechopek’s who was traveling with him.
“I just want to say bye to my son Aryeh,” said his father, Moshe Shechopek, to a somber crowd. “Only one thing comes to mind, what’s important and what’s not. To appreciate every minute with the child and with the family.”
Rabbi Naftali Schreiber, the head of Shechopek’s yeshiva, said the teenager was initially feeling unwell in the morning and considered staying at home with his supervisor’s encouragement, before overcoming his condition and deciding to go to school. A young man “who fought hard with all his strength, set himself on a good path, had a future for greatness,” said Schreiber. “No one ever saw anger in this boy, he didn’t know what anger was. He would walk in the street and help anyone possible, he was beloved by all.”
Rabbi Yehuda Moshkovich, also of Shechopek’s yeshiva, remembered the student as “a charming guy” who “fought like a lion for every goal he took on.”
Shechopek was also mourned by Israeli leaders, with Prime Minister Yair Lapid describing him as “a boy who never wronged anyone in the world.”
“He was murdered simply because he was Jewish,” said Lapid in a statement on the attack.
In a statement on social media, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his “deepest condolences” to Shechopek’s family and friends, saying he was “incredibly saddened” to learn of his death. “Canada condemns this violence in the strongest possible terms.”
The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, cut short his visit to the United States following the Jerusalem bombings, the latest in a string of terrorist attacks that have killed more than two dozen of Israelis since spring and left scores more injured.