Israel-Hamas Hostage Reunion: Stories of Joy and Anguish

2023-11-26 18:56:15
Emily Hand, 9, is reunited with her father Tom, and Hila Rotem, 13, receives a hug from her uncle.

“We cannot find words to describe our emotions following 50 very complicated days.” Tom Hand’s phrase summarizes the feelings of an entire country, following the release this Friday and Saturday of 26 Israeli hostages captured by Hamas during the terrorist attack on October 7.

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Tom Hand is the father of Emily Hand, a 9-year-old Irish-Israeli girl released Saturday. In the days following the attack, his father had reported that her daughter had died and his message had moved many. The little girl, however, had been taken hostage along with other people and now her father was finally able to hug her once more.

A video of the emotional reunion between father and daughter went viral on social networks in the last few hours. “He hugs her daughter as if he would never let her go,” former Israeli official Aviva Klompas commented on X.

Emily Hand (second from right) with her father, Tom Hand (right), while Hila Rotem (second from left), whose mother is still kidnapped, with her uncle and another relative following being released. (Archyde.com)

In the midst of the joy, however, Tom Hand did not forget those who are still in the hands of the terrorist group.

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“We are happy to be able to hug Emily once more,” he said during a virtual press conference this Sunday, “but at the same time we remember all the hostages who have not yet returned home. “We will continue to do everything in our power to bring them home.”

In the same video that showed the reunion between Tom and Emily, 13-year-old Hila Rotem-Shoshani, who was also released on Saturday without her mother, is also seen receiving a hug from her uncle.

The hug between Hila Rotem-Shosani and her uncle (FDI/Archyde.com)

Other emotional photos and videos regarding the release of the hostages were released this Sunday by the media, the Israeli army and the relatives of those freed.

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One of the most moving was the video showing the Avigdori family reunited following the mother, Sharon, and son, Noam, were freed from Hamas captivity on Saturday.

The moment when recently released hostage Sharon Avigdori was able to hug her son and husband following 50 days of captivity

As if reflecting the joy of all of Israel at the recovery of its citizens, another of the videos that circulated today shows the inhabitants of Yavneh welcoming Danielle Aloni and her 6-year-old daughter Emilia. Both, originally from those cities, were in Kibbutz Nir Oz on the morning of October 7 when Hamas devastated the village, murdering and kidnapping many of its residents. They were released on Friday.

The city of Yavneh welcomes Danielle and Emilia Aloni

Yesterday the Schneider Medical Center, the hospital near Tel Aviv where the hostages are sent for a medical check-up, released photos that showed a smiling mother and daughter and Emilia hugging her grandmother tightly.

Emilia Aloni, 5 years old, is reunited with her grandmother (Schneider Children’s Hospital)Danielle and Emilia Aloni. (Schneider Children’s Hospital)

Other images, released by the army, show Ohad Munder, 9 years old and a resident of Nir Oz. In the video, the boy is talking with Israeli soldiers aboard a military helicopter that on Friday took him, along with his family, to a hospital where he received medical attention.

Ohad Munder, 9, aboard a military helicopter with his family following being released

The Mondar family represents three generations: Ohad was released along with his mother Keren Munder (55) and his grandmother, Ruti Munder (78).

This family’s reunion with their loved ones was bittersweet, as they learned that other family members were murdered on October 7. In addition, Avraham, Ruti’s husband, remains a prisoner along with the other 214 who are waiting to be released.

“It was very emotional, we were all crying,” said Merav Mor Raviv, Keren Munder’s cousin, at the virtual conference.

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A video released yesterday also showed the boy’s reunion with his father at the Schneider Medical Center, near Tel Aviv.

Ohad Munder reunited with his father

Ohad was also able to meet his friends. Now he will finally be able to celebrate his ninth birthday, which was on October 23 in the tunnels dug by the terrorist group.

Ohad Monder was able to reunite with his friends following being released

This Saturday, the relatives of those recently released published more images of the emotional reunions. Their dissemination had the authorization of the families themselves.

Yair Moses, Margalit’s 78-year-old son, who was released yesterday, posted a family photo on Facebook accompanied by the caption: “Mom is back!”

Margalit Moses with members of her family following being released from Gaza on Friday. (Facebook).

Doron Asher and his two young daughters, Raz, 4; and Aviv, 2, were reunited with Yoni, husband and father respectively. “They missed me? Did you think regarding dad? ”She asks the little girls. Raz told her father that she dreamed of returning home, to which he replied: “Your dream came true.”

The emotional reunion of the Asher family

The stories of the Israelis who were released and their families reflect the joy of the reunion, but also the anguish for those still held.

The family of Yaffa Adar, 85, published photographs of the reunion with her loved ones. “Grandma is here, healthy and beautiful. Thank you people of Israel,” her daughter-in-law, Adriana Adar, wrote on Facebook. And she continued: “Thank you to everyone who supported us. It’s the first drop in the sea. We are waiting for you Tamir Adar. We are waiting for everyone. All of them! “Right now, right now!” she claimed.

Tamir, one of Yaffa’s grandsons, remains held by Hamas in Gaza.

Yaffa Adar reunites with a family member following being released (Facebook)

Adva Adar, Yaffa’s granddaughter, said she has not yet recovered from the shock of having lost and then regained her grandmother.

“Fortunately we were lucky enough to be able to hug her once more. We are trying to recover as a family, we are trying to help her recover,” Adva commented today during the virtual press conference.

“My grandmother is wonderful and strong, I am proud to see how she survived this, the strength she has shown and her ability to maintain hope,” she added, ensuring that “the fight is not over for the other hostages.”

“We need every one of them,” he said. “We will not be able to rebuild this country once more without the return of each and every one of them.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli army reported this Sunday that fourteen Israeli hostages and three foreigners were handed over to the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

Hamas released 13 Israelis on Friday: Hannah Katzir; Margalit Moisés; Yaffa Adar; Channah Peri; Adina Moshe; Danielle and Emilia Aloni; Ruthi, Keren and Ohad Munder; and Aviv, Raz and Doron Katz-Asher. On Saturday a new release included a larger number of teenagers and children: Mia Regev (21), Noam (17) and Alma (13) Or, Hila Rotem-Shoshani (13), Emily Hand (9), Shiri (53) and Noga (18) Weiss, Sharon (52) and Noam (12) Avigdoris, Shoshan Haran (67), and Adi (38), Naveh (8) and Yahel (3) Shohams.

15 foreign nationals, mostly Thai, were also released.

In exchange for the Israeli hostages, Israel has freed 78 Palestinian prisoners, all of them women and teenagers.

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