Photo Credit: GPO
Gabriela (59) and Mia (17) Leimberg, Tuesday night, Nov. 28, 2023, upon their arrival at the meeting point in Israeli territory, in their first telephone conversation with their family.

Eight of the 10 Israeli hostages who returned to freedom Tuesday night from the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza were in a “complex but stable” medical condition, according to Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medical Center, where the captives were first taken upon their arrival.

Six of the hostages who were released Tuesday night were ages 60 and above; four were older than age 70 and one was age 84.


Among those whose condition was “complex” was 17-year-old Mia Leimberg, who was abducted from her home together with her mother Gabriela and her little dog, Bella.

All of the returnees underwent a comprehensive examination, according to Professor Itai Pesach, director of Safra Children’s Hospital in the Sheba Medical Center complex.

“Some of them suffer from complex background illnesses that preceded their captivity, as well as injuries they sustained during their abduction. They also suffered from these during their captivity,” he said.

Although many will require additional medical tests, the hospital director said, “They are all stable and there is no immediate danger to any of them.

“The precious returnees we received are a group of strong, amazing women, the salt of this land, who bravely withstood the hardships of captivity,” he noted. “They were welcomed with a big embrace from us and their families.

“They are being accompanied by a comprehensive team who have all prepared for this moment and is dedicated to healing their physical and mental wounds.”

Mia’s dog Bella is also reported to be in good health, the professor said.

“We were surprised and happy to welcome Bella, Mia’s dog; a brave and amazing girl, a brave and amazing dog.”

Bella was evaluated by the hospital’s veterinarian (Ed.: Who knew the hospital has a veterinarian?) who reported the small dog is “also in good condition.

“We continue to accompany her and the other returnees who arrived here previously, a total of 13. They will continue to be here as long as necessary,” the hospital director said.

He also noted that the hospital staff itself is suffering to a certain extent from secondary trauma due to the experience of hearing what their patients have gone through.

“Our feelings range from joy and excitement” from their meetings with the reunited families, to “pain and sadness and even deep horror at the stories we are being exposed to,” he said.

“The returnees will require peace and quiet to recover; we ask the public to continue to respect their privacy. We will provide them with all the conditions they need for recovery.

“These are difficult and complex days; we are proud of our ability to participate in such an important mission.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.