Canadian teenager confirmed killed in Israel bus shelter bombings

Statements released by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the White House condemn the attack, calling it an act of terror

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“I just want to say bye to my son, Aryeh.”

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That’s how the father of Aryeh Schupak, killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem, opened the eulogy for his son, speaking heavily accented English to the crowd of mourners.

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Aryeh Schupak, a dual Canadian-Israeli citizen, was killed Wednesday morning in the Har Nof neighborhood, when a bomb went off at a bus stop.

Hours after the attack, which left Schupak dead and at least 18 injured, hundreds gathered at the cemetery in Givat Shaul, another Jerusalem neighbourhood, the Times of Israel reported.

Tears and wails could be heard in the background of a video posted online, the mourners in black and white, while speakers addressed the crowd. Moshe Schupak, the boy’s father, said he wanted to apologize to his son for anything he may or may not have done.

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“Only one thing comes to mind, what’s important, what’s not. Appreciate every minute with a child and with the family,” the elder Schupak said, visibly struggling to contain his emotions.

Aryeh was killed while en route to yeshiva, a traditional Jewish educational institution, where he was studying. Aryeh was with his best friend, who he traveled with to school every morning, the news site Walla, reported. Reports vary on whether or not Aryeh was 15 or 16 years old.

At the funeral, Rabbi Naftali Schreiber, who led the yeshiva where Aryeh studied, said the teenager had considered staying home sick on Wednesday, but had decided to go instead.

“A boy who fought hard, set out on a good path despite not having an easy life. I can testify that nobody felt anger with this child,” Schreiber is quoted as saying in the Times of Israel. “He didn’t know what anger was. He would held everyone in the street and was loved by mankind.”

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Schreiber said a year ago, he had eulogized another member of Aryeh’s class. “I didn’t think I would be eulogizing another student from the same class,” he said.

The name Aryeh means “lion” in Hebrew, and Shlomo Benjamin, who taught at the yeshiva, told Kan radio that he was “the special one in the group.” “He fought like a lion, like his name, to succeed in his studies and torah,” Benjamin said, the Times of Israel reported.

Little is known about the family, although Lisa Stadelbauer, Canada’s ambassador to Israel, confirmed Aryeh held Canadian citizenship.

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“Heartbroken to confirm that a young Canadian lost his life in this morning’s reprehensible terror attack in Jerusalem,” said Stadelbauer on Twitter. “Our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to others wounded in this attack. Canada continues to condemn all forms of terror.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added his condolences, too, writing on Twitter that Canada condemns terrorist attacks.

“Incredibly saddened to learn about the death of a young Canadian in the terrorist attack in Jerusalem. I’m sending his family and friends my deepest condolences,” Trudeau wrote.

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It’s not clear when the family may have been in Canada. Walla reported that the family came from Russia to Israel at least 15 years ago.

The attacks received condemnation from around the world, and Israel’s presumptive prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, wished a “quick recovery to the injured.”

After the bombing at 7 am local time that killed Aryeh, a second explosion detonated at 7:30 am, injuring three more people at Ramot Junction.

“This is a complex combined attack in two arenas, which appears to be the result of an organized infrastructure, and not spontaneous act as we have come to know in recent years,” said Omer Bar Lev, Israeli public security minister, Wednesday morning after visiting both explosion sites.

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Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said the US government “unequivocally” condemns the acts of terror, and offered assistance to the Israeli government to investigate the attacks.

The United Nations and the European Union ambassador to Israel, Dimiter Tzantchev, also condemned the attacks.

Mourners carry the body of 16-year-old Aryeh Chupack who was killed in a suspected Palestinian bomb attack, at his funeral in Jerusalem
Mourners carry the body of 16-year-old Aryeh Schupack who was killed in a suspected Palestinian bomb attack, at his funeral in Jerusalem, Nov. 23, 2022. Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Global Affairs Canada has not responded to the National Post’s request for comment.

In Gaza, a spokesman for Palestinian militant group Hamas praised the Jerusalem explosions but stopped short of claiming responsibility. Abdel-Latif Al-Qanoua linked the blasts to “crimes conducted by the Occupation (Israel) and the settlers.”

“There has not been such a coordinated attack in Jerusalem for many years,” Eli Levi, a police spokesman, told Army Radio.

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The explosions, which echoed the bus bombings that were a hallmark of the Palestinian uprising of 2000-05, followed months of rising tension in the occupied West Bank after Israel launched a crackdown in response to deadly Palestinian attacks in its cities.

The bombings are a departure from the lower tech, more lone wolf-style attacks with which Israel has grappled in more recent years. Since last spring, a string of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and car rammings have put Israel on high alert. In response, the Israeli military has conducted near nightly raids, especially around the West Bank city of Jenin, from where a number of assailants have originated.

More than 5,000 Israeli security officers have been deployed across Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, including to bus stops to search for explosives.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid promised security forces would get ahold of the terror cell that’s believed to have planted the bombs.

“If they resist, they will be killed. If not, we will deal with them,” Lapid is reported to have said.

Additional reporting from the Associated Press, Washington Post and Reuters

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