Master Sgt. (res.) Eliahou Benjamin Elmakayes, 29, a soldier in the Combat Engineering Corp’s 8219th Battalion, was killed during fighting in the central Gaza Strip on November 8.
Elmakayes moved to Israel from France six years ago, to realize his dream of serving in an IDF combat unit, according to a Channel 12 report on Thursday evening.
Elmakayes was set to marry his finance, Yoana Jordo, on November 5, but the wedding was put off when he was called up, and he was killed three days after the intended date.
The lone soldier’s parents, who had flown in from France for the wedding, instead buried him at Mount Herzl National Cemetery in Jerusalem just a few days after he was slated to get married.
His close friend, David Dorfman, told Ynet that he was “a guy with a heart of gold. Always smiling, always taking care of others. This is a tough loss,” he said, noting that the pair met together in the army. “He made aliya specifically for this, he wanted to serve in combat.”
Raphael Jordo, Yoana’s brother, told Israel Hayom that “instead of going to the huppa, we will go to the cemetery.”
“He was Zionistic, a true patriot, who loved his homeland, unusually kind-hearted, always helping others, a man of kindness, smiling. Benjamin wasn’t afraid of anything — all of his life was just endless generosity.”
Jordo said that his almost brother-in-law just wanted to get married and build a family, “he loved children. We’re in total shock. My parents came to Israel for a wedding, but instead of that we, the love of his life, his extended and close family will have to bury him, with pain and deep grief.”