The family of Adi Vital-Kaploun, a 33-year-old Israeli-Canadian woman, has expressed their heartbreak and outrage following her tragic death at the hands of Hamas militants outside of the Gaza Strip. Adi was a resident of a communal farm near the conflict-ridden region.
Heroic Acts Amidst Crisis
According to a Thursday morning interview with CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning, Aaron Smith, Adi’s cousin-in-law, recounted the traumatic incident. As the Hamas militants approached, Vital-Kaploun was sheltering with her two young sons inside their family home. She had directed her father and husband to stay put, ensuring their safety. “Certainly saved their lives,” said Smith.
Moreover, Smith emphasized her bravery, detailing how Vital-Kaploun managed to persuade the attackers to spare her children, entrusting them to her neighbour’s care. He referred to her as “a hero.”
A Glimpse of the Harrowing Incident
Reports from the Globe and Mail provided a chilling account of the situation, mentioning that Adi was shot right in front of her children. The traumatic event has been seared into the memory of her four-year-old son.
In a subsequent incident, Hamas militants forced Vital-Kaploun’s children onto the neighbour, asking her to identify them. Smith informed CBC that these individuals were later utilized as human shields, aimed at luring out other residents from their hiding spots.
Propaganda Amidst the Chaos
Smith pointed out that after the incident, the neighbour and the children were led through the Negev Desert towards the Gaza Strip, only to be released later. Their release, he believes, was a calculated move by Hamas to project goodwill. This viewpoint is supported by the grainy video footage disseminated by Hamas showing the release of the neighbour and children.
“There’s no good will that these murderous terrorists have. That’s propaganda,” Smith expressed passionately to CBC. He continued to emphasize the loss, saying, “Adi is the mother of those children. Adi is dead.”
Furthermore, he mentioned the significant trauma experienced by the children, with one suffering from shrapnel injuries and a gunshot wound.
Memories and Grief
According to Smith, Vital-Kaploun had a close-knit family, with connections in both Ottawa and Israel. She spent her summers in Ottawa, immersing herself in a quintessential Canadian lifestyle despite her Israeli roots.
Smith recounted her life, saying, “a normal Canadian life for a lovely Israeli girl.”
However, the current conflict has made it challenging for the family to unite. With the Canadian government’s efforts to evacuate its citizens, Vital-Kaploun’s family in Ottawa remains uncertain about attending her burial in Israel.
Responses from the Community
Andrea Freedman, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, expressed her deep sympathy for the family, remarking that the ordeal they face is “absolutely heartbreaking.”
Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe also expressed his condolences, having been in touch with the grieving family. He emphasized the impact of the conflict on local families during a city hall press briefing. According to Sutcliffe’s post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Vital-Kaploun had familial connections to the iconic ByWard Market shop, Irving Rivers, which has stood for over 70 years.
I was devastated to learn of the murder of Adi Vital-Kaploun, the granddaughter of longtime ByWard Market shop owner Irving Rivers, during the terrorist attacks in Israel. I spoke with Adi's mother and family members today to offer my support and my deepest condolences on behalf…
— Mark Sutcliffe (@_MarkSutcliffe) October 11, 2023
The Broader Impact
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly confirmed that the ongoing conflict has resulted in the tragic deaths of two Canadians, with another presumed dead. As per records from Global Affairs Canada, over 4,000 Canadians are currently registered in Israel, with a few hundred more in Palestinian territories.
This conflict surged when Hamas launched an attack on Israel, instigating a series of retaliatory actions, culminating in Israel’s declaration of war and subsequent blockade of Gaza, as reported by Global Affairs Canada.