The victim of a Jerusalem hit-and-run was identified Tuesday as Chaim Tukachinsky, 31, a gifted and up-and-coming ultra-Orthodox pianist, composer, and conductor.
Tukachinsky was killed on Sunday night at central Jerusalem’s Paris Square while walking back from the Western Wall on the first night of the Sukkot holiday.
The suspect arrested over his death is a Spanish reporter who has been working in Israel for several years and who reportedly confessed to driving while inebriated.
Tukachinsky, formerly a resident of Kiryat Motzkin, had left his ultra-Orthodox yeshiva at the age of 18 in favor of attending a music academy in Jerusalem, where he excelled in his undergraduate and graduate degrees.
“I never understood why people raise an eyebrow when they look at me, a Haredi person playing piano,” he told the Ynet site in 2015. “For me, I’ve always been Haredi and always played piano. I strayed from the path [set for me] and I left my studies in the higher institutions of yeshiva to be a professional pianist.”
The son of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Tukachinsky said he received his first professional training at the age of 10.
“When my mother emigrated from the Soviet Union, she wasn’t allowed to take any money, only property, so she brought a piano,” he said. “I took quite an interest.”
Tukachinsky was buried on Tuesday.
The foreign journalist, Julio de la Guardia, confessed to drinking and running over Tukachinsky, according to reports.
On Monday night he was released to house arrest at the home of the Spanish consul.
The accident occurred some time after midnight. After hitting Tukachinsky, the suspect drove away and was arrested around an hour later. He was found to have a blood alcohol content three times the legal amount.
On Monday two men were arrested in connection with a second hit-and-run Sunday night — this one in Tel Aviv. The accident left a 16-year-old in critical condition and another moderately injured. The two suspects are soccer players from Israel’s top league.