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A 22-year-old Vancouver man, Ben Mizrachi, was among those killed during a terrorist attack on the Supernova music festival in southern Israel on Saturday.Supplied

Ben Mizrachi, a 22-year-old raised in Vancouver’s tightknit Jewish community who left to serve in the Israeli army soon after graduating high school, is one of two Canadians confirmed killed at a desert rave that was one of the first targets hit by Hamas militants over the weekend.

Some time after rockets began exploding and gunshots ringing out in the Negev Desert, Mr. Mizrachi’s parents and three younger siblings in Vancouver learned he was missing from the Supernova festival, which was held a handful of kilometres from the border of the Gaza Strip.

The family arrived in Israel to learn he was one of more than 260 festival attendees killed in the attacks, according to Ezra Shanken, chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, who visited the Mizrachis before they left for the Middle East.

“It really is a tragic time for our community,” Mr. Shanken said.

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Russ Klein, head of the private Jewish King David High School where Mr. Mizrachi graduated in 2018, posted on the school’s social media that his former student was “full of life” and recalled the boy wearing a hockey jersey to prayers during a field trip.

“Ben was a friend to everyone and was so proud of his service in the [Israel Defense Forces],” Mr. Klein wrote. “One of my fondest memories is being with Ben on the King David Grade 8 trip to Israel 10 years ago, watching him daven at sunrise atop Masada, wearing his Kevin Bieksa Canucks Jersey.”

Alexandre Look, 33, a charismatic traveller from Montreal who had been living in Israel the past couple months, was also among the dead at Supernova, according to friends and family.

Global Affairs Canada said Tuesday it had only confirmed one Canadian has died but is aware of reports of a second. It said it is also aware of reports that three Canadians are missing. Ottawa says 3,234 Canadians had registered as living in Israel and 478 in Palestinian territories at the outset of the conflict.

Harel Lapidot, a Canadian citizen living in Israel, said his niece Tiferet Lapidot, 22, was kidnapped from the Supernova festival and her family is pleading for Ottawa’s intervention. Ms. Lapidot’s father was born in Regina, though she has spent her life in Israel.

“At 9 o’clock on Saturday morning she called her mother and told her that terrorists are all over,” Harel Lapidot said in an interview. “Police have detected her phone in Gaza; the same thing with a phone of her friend.”

Mr. Lapidot said that his mother was a prominent member of the 1970s Jewish community in Calgary and often told stories about Canada. He said his family is asking that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his officials to do their utmost to secure her freedom.

“My mother used to tell me that once a Canadian, always a Canadian.”

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Global Affairs Canada did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Also missing is Vivian Silver, a 74-year-old peace activist born in Winnipeg who has lived in Israel since 1974. Her son, Yonathan Zeigen, told The Globe and Mail he was speaking with his mother by phone when he realized the violence was intensifying on the streets outside her home in Kibbutz Be’eri, near the border with Gaza.

“We wrote messages up to the point she told me they were inside the house. And that was it,” he said.

Shye Weinstein, a 26-year-old photographer from Toronto who moved to Tel Aviv in the spring, told The Globe late Tuesday night that he has slept roughly four hours since narrowly escaping the Supernova rave in his cousin’s car early Saturday morning. Mr. Weinstein’s video clips of his harrowing exit as Hamas fighters descended upon the festival have gone viral and he is being inundated with requests from family members to help identify their missing loved ones.

“I want to help as many people as I can because I have the most recent photos of some of these people’s last moments – the last time they were smiling, the last time they were having fun,” Mr. Weinstein told The Globe in a video interview from Tel Aviv.

The attacks have forced Canadians visiting Israel to flee with many struggling to book flights out of the country.

Rodrigo Andrez Lara Tapia was visiting Tel Aviv from Montreal when he heard the rocket attacks. He video-recorded the incoming rockets, one of which destroyed a neighbouring building. “I called the embassy, Air Canada, over and over, and got nothing,” he said. “My wife e-mailed several times. No response.”

On Monday, he managed to get out on a British Airways flight to London. He landed and has since re-routed to Barcelona to decompress.

“Everyone at the airport was stressed, panicked, and it was the same on the plane,” he said. “I’m very angry because I felt my government wasn’t there to help us.”

Kathryn Drew said her daughter, Genevieve Ouellette, travelled to Tel Aviv last week for a restful vacation from her job as a trauma nurse in Montreal.

On Saturday, she sent her mother an urgent message saying she heard missiles and air-raid sirens. She spent much of the weekend huddled under a desk as she heard air attacks thud around her.

Ms. Drew, a former travel agent, booked multiple plane tickets to bring her daughter back home. But all the flight were cancelled. On Tuesday morning, she said she finally secured a ticket aboard an Emirates flight to Boston for $3,500.

“I’m running up my credit cards, but money is irrelevant right now,” said Ms. Drew.

She said the Canadian government had been no help.

With reports from Justine Hunter, Laura Stone and The Canadian Press

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