The attack took place at around 4:35 P.M. as the gunman fired an Uzi submachine gun at cars stuck in traffic, and then his car crashed and continued to step out of the vehicle to continue shooting.The attacker was immobilized by a driver, Yuval Lasri, who told reporters that, ” I didn’t shoot at him because I wasn’t sure that he was the terrorist, but then I saw the gun next to him and understood that he was.”
This attack shocked the nation coming, as it did, after a period of calm, free of terror attacks. Together with the stabbing at a synagogue in Tel Aviv that occurred only a few hours earlier, it was, “the bloodiest day in Israel since this latest round of Arab violence began back in September.”
Ezra Schwartz (18), an American from Sharon, Massachusetts who was studying abroad was one of the victims. He had recently accepted admission into the Rutgers Business School and was taking a gap year in Israel. Schwartz was on his way to volunteer at Oz VeGaon, a memorial park in honor of three Israeli boys who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in 2014.
Yaakov Don (51), teacher, father of four from Alon Shvut was also killed in the same attack. Don was taken to Hadassah Medical Center, where he died within hours of the attack.
A Palestinian man was also killed and two Israel women were injured, one in the car crash, the other by gunfire. They were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center where they fully recovered.
Several events are being held in commemoration of Ezra’s life. a United Hatzalah Ambucycle will be dedicated in Ezra’s memory, which will hopefully help in saving many lives.
“As Ezra’s 2nd Yartzeit approaches, thank you for helping us feel peace in our hearts, that lives will be saved in Ezra’s honor.” said Ezra’s mother, Ruth Senecal Schwartz.
This will not be the first Ambucycle bearing Ezra’s name. In 2010, four childhood friends from Sharon, Massachusetts, Josh Hanau, Dani Lerner, Ariel Goldman, and Ezra Schwartz, and their families donated an ambucycle together to help support the work of United Hatzalah.
A very moving and special event was held yesterday morning in Israel, as those who wanted to celebrate Ezra’s life came to participate in a memorial walk. The walk started outside of Alon Shvut, the location where Ezra Schwartz and Rabbi Yaakov Don were killed and continued into Oz VeGaon, the tranquil park where Ezra had been going to volunteer on that same day two years ago, to help beautify the grounds.
Together, friends and family, and those who wanted to learn more about Ezra, walked, painted rocks were left behind in a meditative rock garden, ‘Ginat Oz Shel Ezra’, as people sat side by side sharing memories of Ezra and inspired each other.
Ezra’s mother Ruth Senecal Schwartz was able to join via video phone throughout the entire memorial event.