Those We Have Lost

Roee and Smadar Idan, 43 & 38: News photographer and Shin Bet employee

Murdered in Kfar Aza, October 7, while their 3-year-old daughter was kidnapped to Gaza

Roee Idan (Courtesy)
Roee Idan (Courtesy)

Roee Idan, 43, a photographer for the Ynet news site who filmed the early moments of the Hamas terrorist infiltration into Israel, was killed in the invasion alongside his wife, Smadar Mor Idan, 38, in Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

The couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Avigayil, was taken hostage in Gaza, and released on November 26. Their other two children hid in a closet and escaped.

Roee was unaccounted for for more than 10 days until his body was finally identified and his death confirmed. Smadar, an employee of the Shin Bet agency, was found murdered in their home not long after the Hamas invasion on October 7. The couple were laid to rest together almost two weeks after they were killed.

The Idan family lived in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, just a few kilometers from the border, and Idan left home early Saturday morning and managed to film the start of the Hamas invasion, as terrorists paraglided across the border, sending it to the news site before he was shot and killed.

Smadar Idan and her 3-year-old daughter, Avigayil (Foreign Ministry)

“It is hard for us to accept [the news],” said Ynet editor Gido Ran. “Roee was a beloved friend to many, the calm and peace he radiated cast a spell on every corner he touched. We lost a journalist with a rare eye and an unstoppable desire to get close to the story. He will be missed by us forever.”

Hadar Gil-Ad, Ynet’s welfare reporter, said Roee was “one of those reporters who love to be in the field… the field reports he filmed were deep and sensitive. He succeeded in touching so many people.” Gil-Ad said if they were ever filming those who felt uncomfortable being on camera, “he knew how to say the exact right words to open their hearts. He had an ability to connect to people.”

Idan’s mother, Lisa, told Ynet that she had a “special relationship” with him: “He loved many of the same things that I loved.”

“We would have conversations about Kfar Aza, about their life there. I was so happy that they built a beautiful home there,” she said. “I feel like I am emptying myself but I will never be empty — he’s my son and I will talk about and bring him up day and night.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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