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Popular Rabbi Killed in Tel Aviv Tractor Accident

Victim identified as Rabbi Elkana Eliasi of Tel Aviv, a popular teacher and father of seven. Tractor driver held for questioning.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/16/2014, 12:18 PM

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Israel G., Hatzala Gush Dan

The Israeli man killed by a tractor in a tragic accident on Wednesday in Tel Aviv, has been identified as Rabbi Elkana Eliasi.

Rabbi Eliasi was buried Wednesday evening. He was just two days away from celebrating his 41st birthday, and is survived by his wife and seven children.

Rabbi Eliasi was killed by a tractor at a construction site. Paramedics who were called to the scene said the rabbi was already dead, and had suffered a “very serious” head injury.

The driver of the tractor, a 38-year-old man from the Israeli Arab town of Kfar Kara, was detained for questioning.

Terrorists have previously used tractors to attack Israeli civilians. However, there have been no reports that Rabbi Eliasi was attacked deliberately.

Rabbi Eliasi was a student of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He headed the Rabbeinu Yosef Chaim kollel (Torah study center) and had authored several books on Judaism.

He had recently opened a court of Jewish law in Tel Aviv.

His friends told Kikar Hashabat, “People would come ask him questions about halakha [Jewish law] until late at night. He was a special man, friendly and beloved to all.”

Dozens of secular Israelis were present at his funeral, they noted.

“The secular community was close to him… He would bring people closer to Judaism, teach them Torah, get them to keep the Sabbath. He was like the spiritual father of the neighborhood,” they recalled.