Former Toronto teacher killed in West Bank attack

A former Toronto high school teacher is among four people killed in a West Bank shooting on Thursday.

Rabbi 'will be remembered for the real love he had for his students,' former colleague says

Rabbi Ya'acov Don, a former Hebrew teacher in Toronto, was killed Thursday in a West Bank shooting. (Handout )

A former Toronto high school teacher is among three people killed Thursday in a West Bank shooting.

Rabbi Ya'acov Don was an Israeli citizen with close ties to the Toronto community, where he taught Hebrew studies at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto — a Jewish high school — from 1996 to 2000. 

"He came from Israel to teach for four years. It's something done regularly in the Jewish world, to bring a taste of Israel to the education provided in Jewish schools and youth organizations," said Don's friend and colleague, Jonny Lipczer, who is with Bnei Akiva of Toronto. 

"He was a warm and caring rabbi, who will be remembered for the real love he had for his students."

Lipczer said Bnei Akiva and other community organizations are "working on an appropriate way to commemorate Rabbi Don's life."

Escalating violence 

Don and two others were killed Thursday night when a Palestinian motorist opened fire on a line of cars stuck in traffic in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

The Israeli military said he then intentionally rammed his vehicle into a group of pedestrians. The military said soldiers shot at the attacker, although his condition and identity were unknown.

Also killed was U.S. citizen Ezra Schwartz, 18, who was studying in Israel, and a Palestinian man, but police said it was unclear if he was hit by the attacker's fire or that of Israeli forces.

Earlier on Thursday, a knife-wielding man stabbed and killed two Israelis as several of them gathered for afternoon prayers at an office building in the Israeli commercial centre of Tel Aviv.

The attacks are part of a wave of violence that erupted in mid-September over tensions surrounding a Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims. Palestinians accuse Israel of plotting to take over the hilltop compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, something Israel denies.

The Palestinians say the violence is rooted in frustration at decades of living under Israeli occupation. Israel accuses Palestinian leaders of inciting the unrest.

With files from The Associated Press