Those we have lost

Elia Toledano, 28: Tel Aviv event planner who was ‘full of joy’

Murdered by Hamas while in captivity in Gaza after being kidnapped from the Supernova festival on October 7

The body of civilian hostage Elia Toledano, 28, was found by Israeli troops in Gaza and returned to Israel, the military said on December 15, 2023. (Courtesy)
The body of civilian hostage Elia Toledano, 28, was found by Israeli troops in Gaza and returned to Israel, the military said on December 15, 2023. (Courtesy)

Elia Toledano, 28, from Elad, who was kidnapped by terrorists from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im on October 7, was killed while in Hamas captivity.

He is survived by his parents, Moshe and Odile, as well as his older brother, Daniel.

Toledano, a dual French-Israeli citizen, attended the festival with close friend Mia Schem.

According to witnesses, Toledano was last seen with Schem, 21, in the early morning, escaping together by car when Hamas terrorists shot out the tires and kidnapped them.

Schem was shot in the arm during the attack and left for dead, while Toledano was taken straight away, with his arms tied behind his back. Eventually, Schem was taken as well but had lost all contact with Toledano. She was released on December 1 as part of the temporary truce deal.

Two weeks later, the IDF announced that Israel had recovered Toledano’s body; there were no details on how or when he died.

Mia Schem alongside her family at Sheba Medical Center after being released from captivity, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)

He was buried soon after repatriation in the Elad Cemetery.

Toledano lived in Tel Aviv for the last several years and worked as an event planner.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said her country was “deeply saddened to hear the Israeli armed forces announce the death of our compatriot Elia Toledano,” after his body was recovered on December 15.

“We share the grief of his family and loved ones. The release of all hostages is our priority,” she wrote on X.

Loved ones online described his “addictive smile” that made everyone around him happy.

“My little brother Elia was a man who was full of joy,” said Daniel Toledano, according to Israeli news outlets. “[He was] a symbol of true friendship and endless giving. To imagine that I will never see his sweet smile again makes me never want to smile without him. A star has been taken from all of us today, without which the sky is incomplete.”

Childhood friend and Kan 11 political correspondent Michael Shemesh said he will forever remember Toledano’s “sweet smile and kindness.” The two studied together as young men in yeshiva in the Haredi city of Bnei Brak. “We so wanted him to come back. [We wanted] a miracle to happen… rest in peace, Elia Toledano.”

Until his body was recovered in December, Toledano was thought to be alive in Hamas captivity. The announcement of his death came as a blow to his loved ones.

“We are going from hope to despair,” his aunt Viviane told French news outlet TF1 just before the funeral. “The family is really broken. I don’t know if we will ever be able to smile [again].”

“Every day is like hell for me,” Toledano’s girlfriend, Rina Levi, wrote on Instagram. “When I lost you, I lost everything.”

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