“He wanted so much to see the world, to soak up every aspect of all the beauty, history and culture. Our loss is a loss for the world of such an emerging, bright, shining, brilliant star,” said Carolyn Ganeles, the mother of Elan Ganeles, an American-Israeli murdered in a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley on Monday, as her son was laid to rest at the Old Ra’anana Cemetery on Wednesday.
Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral. Ganeles, from West Hartford, Connecticut, studied at a gap-year yeshiva after high school. It was then that he decided to immigrate and join the IDF as a programmer in the Mofet program. After his IDF service, he studied at Columbia University before returning to Israel.
Ganeles’s killers were caught and arrested by the IDF on Wednesday afternoon.
Andrew and Carolyn Ganeles eulogized their son at the funeral, reminiscing about his strong curiosity and love of learning.
“We feel as if a part of our being has been taken from us. He was so loved. He will be missed so much,” said Carolyn.
Family members memorialized the fallen
Elan’s brother Simon said, “Elan was the most genuine, curious and knowledgeable person I know. Elan loved his friends more than anything. Ilan was my brother, my best friend and a huge inspiration for me.”
His brother Gavriel said, “He was such a role model to me, from his desire to help everyone he could to his unrivaled open-mindedness to his boundless desire for learning everything. He would consider all of his decisions and actions, maybe even too much, and make sure he was doing the best thing possible in any situation. He was the best of all of us. I wish he knew how much I always looked up to him.”
Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu said, “I searched for the right words and could not find them. I do not know what you say to parents and brothers who lost the most precious thing. I stand before you as a representative of the government of Israel, embarrassed, in pain, in hope. This state, which is a realization of the ancient prophecies, is the answer to all the terrorism there was during the exile of the people of Israel.
“I think about this. A Jewish boy in the US who came from a different world to this state, who absorbed values from you [the parents], the love from you, the sense of belonging from you, the love of this land and this state. What a heart, what integrity, what depth of life does such a person have? We built this land, us and our forefathers. To make aliyah to this land is a conscious choice to say, ‘Here is my home. This is my land. This is my homeland.’ This is an important lesson to the whole world and to us here. This people has a soul and body. This state has a soul and a desire to live.
“Your Elan received this great news in his flesh. He understood what is growing here, through all the clouds of talk, and his life ended in such a tragic way. As a minister, I say to you, we failed and we need to do everything so this doesn’t happen. It cannot be that a Jew who comes to live here will be afraid to go around.”
Ari Zakend and Akiva Rockland eulogized their friend Elan, saying, “This still doesn’t feel real. Elan perfected the art of friendship. He was the ultimate friend. He had an unparalleled capacity for kindness. He was a pillar of stability that so many of us leaned on for direction in our lives.”
The Ganeles family will observe the shiva mourning period in Connecticut.