I had the honor and privilege to meet and spend time this weekend with Ela Ben Ami and Yair Moses, Israelis whose parents were kidnapped by Hamas. Yes, I wrote those words – there are families of Jewish hostages in the year 2023. Never Again cant be said anymore.
Nearly the same age as my daughter, 20 year old Ela Ben Ami survived attacks on Kibbutz Beeri by hiding in a safe room of her home for 14 hours with her boyfriend, Raz Rosenberg. They managed to not be spotted by hiding inside their small home with no lights, making no noise and thankfully they weren’t found by terrorists. They eventually escaped with the help of the IDF. Can one begin to imagine the horrors these young Jews faced? The chills? The level of fear. What terror.
As they hid, Ela’s mom and dad were kidnapped. Her mother, Raz was released by Hamas on November 29th and is recovering. Two days after her release she was protesting in Tel Aviv for her husband, Ohad, Ela’s dad who remains a hostage in Gaza. Ella told me how she had been in touch with her father on WhatsApp that morning until the moment he was kidnapped. Ohad’s last message on WhatsApp said, “Shma Yisrael, they are here” and he provided her instructions on his will. She vows to return to her kibbutz but for now the entire kibbutz is living at hotels in the Dead Sea. All of their lifelong belongings have been destroyed. Naturally, all that concerns Ela is the return of her father Chills run through my body as I write these words.
Yair Moses is a father of three children who visited the United States with his 16 year old son Erez to raise a voice of moral conscious in about the plight of his father and our other hostages. His parents Margalit and Gadi Moses were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7th. Yair has worked tirelessly alongside other families since the start of the war, including countless pleas to the Red Cross to provide his mother with medicine which were ignored.
Yair protests, speaks, interviews and does all he can to urge the world to stand up for the hostages. He is in touch with the German government as his father holds dual German-Israeli citizenship.
Both Yair and Ela have such strength but both asked me to urge everyone to please shout louder, to continue fighting, to raise awareness to do all we can so that our hostages can return home. Both of these communities, Kibbutz Nir Oz and Kibbutz Beeri don’t have a single family intact which hasn’t been affected by this terror. Not a single family. And they all have such tremendous needs.
There are so many individual stories of terror of horrors. We must not stop until all our hostages come home.