Elan Ganeles, the 27-year-old American-Israeli citizen who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack on Monday, was laid to rest in the Klausner cemetery in Ranana on Wednesday afternoon. His parents, doctors Andrew and Carolyn Ganeles, flew in to attend the funeral, telling media that their son was “being buried in the country he loved”.
Approximately 3000 people attended the funeral and another 2,500 watched a livestream broadcast.
“While in Israel, he fell in love with the land and the people. This is where he wanted to be,” Elan’s father Andrew said. “He was going to make aliyah.”
“He was a very passionate individual,” Elan’s mother said about her eldest son. “And when he was passionate about something, he pursued it fully and deeply. He was such a gift in our lives, with so many attributes. He had a whole life of so much potential, he wanted so much to see the world, to soak up every aspect…. Our loss is a loss for the world.”
“We feel as if a part of our being has been taken from us. He was so loved, and he will be missed so much,” his parents concluded as they addressed the mourners together.
“Elan loved his friends more than anything,” said Simon, his brother. “His friends were his family. He was in Israel to see all his friends from different parts of his life. He had more friends than anyone I know. He was constantly trying to make people happy.”
“He made the most of all his time,” Simon continued. “He meticulously filled out his itinerary in Israel so that he could use each day to its utmost and see as many new places as possible in his few weeks here. This was true about all his travels…”
“Elan was my brother, my best friend, and my biggest inspiration. I will always love him,” said Simon.
Amichai Eliyahu of Otzma Yehudit attended the funeral as a representative of the government and addressed the crowd in Hebrew, saying that he was “embarrassed and hurt” by Ganeles’ death.
“We built this country and it continues to grow stronger every day, but as much as we are growing, we also see more and more hate. As a minister in the government of Israel, I say we failed.”
Rabbi Dov Lipman, a former Member of the Knesset and the Founder of Yad L’Olim, was in attendance. He said that the turnout was impressive as Elan did not have family in Israel.
“It was very emotional, of course, and from what people said, it was clear that he was an exceptional young man,” Lipman said. “But there was no anger at the funeral. As they were walking toward the grave, the family was told that the terrorists had been apprehended. It was an impactful moment but they were focused on burying their son so they did not really react.”
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, more than 64 Americans, including two unborn children, have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel. Rabbi Lipman called on the US government to respond to the recent murder of one of its citizens.
“When a Palestinian journalist who was a US citizen was unintentionally killed, the US government got involved,” Lipman said. “They should certainly get involved in this case which was the intentional murder of a US citizen. The US government should reconsider funding a Palestinian government that rewards terrorism.
Elan was a recent Columbia graduate and Connecticut native. He served as a sergeant as a lone soldier in the Israeli Defense Force from 2016-2018. He was in Israel to attend a friend’s wedding.
Ganeles is survived by his parents and two younger brothers, Simon and Gabriel.
Elan was murdered in a drive-by shooting by Palestinian gunmen on Route 90 at Beit HaArava junction near Jericho. Ganeles was killed a day after two Israeli brothers were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Hawara, Samaria in a similar attackAfter a two-day manhunt, the IDF captured two suspects in Aqabat Jaber near Jericho which they believe to be the terrorists responsible for the murder. A third suspect was shot as he tried to flee.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement on apprehending of the suspected terrorists.
“A short time ago, we apprehended the three terrorists who were responsible for the murder of Elan Ganeles,” the statement read. “I salute the IDF and ISA for quickly locating the terrorists and carrying out a precise operation.”
“Whoever tries to hurt us will pay the price,” he concluded.