Those we have lost

Eliad Ohayon, 23: Volunteered with kids fighting cancer

Murdered with his father while defending their hometown of Ofakim from Hamas onslaught on October 7

Eliad Ohayon (Facebook)
Eliad Ohayon (Facebook)

Eliad Ohayon, 23, was murdered alongside his father Moshe while defending their hometown of Ofakim from a Hamas terrorist onslaught on October 7.

The Ohayons were among some 50 residents who fell while defending Ofakim, armed with knives, a few handguns, and eventually, the terrorists’ own weapons.

He leaves behind his mother Sarit, and siblings Amitai, Yair, Shira, and Uri.

Ohayon’s friends and family remembered him as a giving, joyful young man, who always looked out for others. He volunteered for not-for-profit social organizations, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a prominent social activist in Ofakim.

On the weekend of the Simhat Torah holiday, his family was hosting a group of children with cancer and complex disabilities, as part of his volunteer efforts. When rocket alert sirens began to wail, Ohayon and his father brought the children into their safe room, before setting out to help their neighbors who didn’t have safe rooms in their houses find shelter.

“They realized that there was a terrorist in the area and rushed to open the local bomb shelter, so residents could take cover. They managed to break into a nearby shelter, and helped their neighbors inside,” Ohayon’s aunt, Odeliya Ohayon, told the Walla news site.

After helping the sick children and their neighbors, Ohayon and his father headed out amid the deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities on the morning of October 7, to help fight the terrorists who had burst across the border into Israel. The two took cover in the yard of a nearby house and tried to hold off gunmen for some 40 minutes, according to Israeli news reports.

When his father was shot in the head, Ohayon tried to treat him, all the while still under fire. Then he was shot and killed.

Moshe and Eliad Ohayon (courtesy)

At his funeral, his sister Shira remembered Ohayon as “a connector, he was a friend to everyone.”

His aunt Odelia shared a story: “Just a few months ago, Eliad called his brother Amitai and asked him to come to him because he needed to buy a car. Amitai said he had an exam at the university, but Eliad insisted and said, ‘I found a station wagon.’ Amitai asked, ‘Why do you need such a car? You are a young guy. Why do you need a station wagon?’ And Eliad explained, ‘That way, I’ll have room for four kids with wheelchairs.’ That is our Eliad. All joy and endless giving all the time.

“During the shiva [a seven-day mourning period], one of the police officers told us, ‘You need to be proud of Moshe and the boys for what they did,'” said his aunt.

In a Facebook post in French, the non-profit Lehosheet Yad shared photos from June 2022, when Ohayon accompanied a group of sick children to Paris. “His smile lit every path he took, every room he entered, every child he crossed… Eliad, your heart was so good, your main goal was to make people happy. We miss you and it’s hard to believe you are gone. May your memory be a blessing.”

Another Facebook page spoke of the Ohayons’ selfless acts on October 7. “The heroic story of the family teaches about the incredible education the children received and the endless heartfelt giving and humility of the family members. They believed in smiling and giving even in difficult moments, and the family continues this tradition.”

One of Ohayon’s favorite artists, Israeli singer Omer Adam, released a new version of one of his most famous songs, “Talking About Peace,” in his memory.

Posting the new version on his Instagram channel, Adam wrote, “There are three things no one can take from us: joy, hope, and faith.”

Moshe Ohayon also chaired the board of the Shaharit Institute, which works to bring Israelis from diverse ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic groups together.

In recent weeks, the “Shahar” fund was set up in Moshe and Eliad Ohayon’s memory, granting one-off assistance to emergency response social initiatives in collaboration with the Fund for New Leadership.

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