On Monday, a suspected Palestinian terrorist shot and killed Elan Ganeles, a Columbia University graduate and resident of West Harford, Connecticut, in the Israeli-controlled West Bank. Ganeles was in Israel for a friend’s wedding when two men opened fire on his car. He was a dual citizen of the US and Israel, and had served in the Israeli Defense Force from 2016 to 2018. He studied neuroscience and sustainable development at Columbia, and was honored during a vigil at the university the following day.
Ganeles was the latest victim of the growing violence in the West Bank, where 62 Palestinians and 14 Israelis have been killed in a surge of violence between the two groups since the beginning of 2023. About half of the Palestinians killed identified as militants, while the other half are believed to have been civilians. Ganeles was killed a day after two Israeli brothers, Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, were also gunned down in their car.
Mayor Eric Adams offered his condolences and said he stands with Israel and for peace, adding that Ganeles was a New Yorker and his loss is a tragedy. Friends described Ganeles as welcoming, funny, helpful, and “eccentric in the best possible way.” The Jewish Federations of North America said in a statement that Ganeles had a bright future ahead of him, and that his love for the Jewish people and Israel led him to volunteer in his local community and to serve in the IDF. He will be buried in Israel on Wednesday.