‘Monday Night Football’ Airs Moment of Silence for American-Jewish Teen Slain by Palestinian Terrorist During Gap Year in Israel (VIDEO)
Tonight, as the New England Patriots prepared to face the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, a moment of silence was held for Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old American-Jewish student who was killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack on Thursday near Hebron.
Schwartz, from Sharon, Massachusetts — who was spending a gap year in Israel and studying at the Ashreinu Yeshiva in Beit Shemesh when he was killed — had been an athlete and avid Patriots fan. This spurred a number of people to appeal to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to ask if he could make a gesture in Schwartz’s honor and memory.
Former Knesset member Dov Lipman from the Yesh Atid Party, a resident of Beit Shemesh and a US immigrant to Israel, was among those who took the initiative to write to Kraft. Conveying his message through American Football in Israel President Steve Leibowitz — whose Jerusalem stadium is funded by Kraft and named after him — Lipman wrote:
Dear Mr. Kraft,
By way of introduction, I served in the Israeli Knesset and played in the flag football league here in Israel years ago. We thank you for all that you have done to make that league and the stadium become a reality.
I was with the boys of the Ashreinu school when they were told that their friend, Ezra, was killed and have been with them daily since. The one theme which comes out over and over again was his passion for the Patriots. One boy actually apologized to “his soul” for telling him to stop screaming with joy as he watched games in his dorm room at 3:00 a.m. Last night at the funeral, Ezra’s body was outside the building during the service so what did they put in the middle to represent Ezra? An Israeli flag and Ezra’s Patriots jersey (#87).
Many in Israel and around the world have been shocked that almost no media outlets covered the murder of this boy who came to Israel for a year of study and volunteering and was shot by a Palestinian terrorist while on his way to his volunteer activity.
It would mean so much to the people of Israel, to supporters around the world, and to Ezra’s family and friends if the Patriots could do something in his memory — perhaps a moment of silence before tomorrow night’s game, perhaps an EZRA patch on their jerseys for a game — whatever you believe is the right way to honor Ezra and to bring awareness to his story.
May we only share good news,
Member of the 19th Knesset
Kraft, a pro-Israel philanthropist and frequent visitor to the Jewish state, immediately embraced the idea, agreeing to hold the minute of silence at the start of tonight’s game to pay tribute to Schwartz, who was buried in Boston yesterday.
Schwartz was one of three people killed in the drive-by shooting and car-ramming attack, which took place at a busy intersection in Gush Etzion.
A graduate of the modern-Orthodox Maimonides School in Boston, Ezra was spending a year abroad at a yeshiva in Israel. He and five classmates were in Gush Etzion to tend to a nature reserve dedicated to the three teenagers kidnapped and killed by Hamas terrorists in the summer of 2014 – the event that triggered Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Schwartz was killed and his friends wounded when the terrorist opened fire on them from his moving vehicle.
Speaking to The Algemeiner on Monday, mere hours before the moving event took place, Lipman said, “This is such a fitting tribute to Ezra and is so meaningful to his family and friends. Mr. Kraft is a first-class human being who does what is right and just. His support for Israel during these tough times has been unwavering and a pillar of strength for all of us. I am usually a Washington Redskins fan, but tonight — and possibly from now on — we are all Patriots. Let’s go Pats!”
The game, as well as the tribute, was broadcast on ESPN‘s “Monday Night Football.”
Watch a video of the moving tribute below: