Teenage siblings, who spent 50 days in Hamas captivity in Gaza with the hope of reuniting with their mother, were shattered when they learned that their mother had been killed in the October 7 attack in Israel.
Noam Or, 17, and his 13-year-old sister Alma were released together on Saturday as part of the cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas. According to CNN, the siblings were forcibly separated from their parents and taken hostage by Hamas. During their captivity in Gaza, they were confined to a house, sharing a room with another woman from their kibbutz, as described by Besorai, who also has roots in Be’eri.
Upon their release on Saturday, the unfortunate news of their mother’s death was shared with them. “This dream had been shattered by the fact that she was murdered,” siblings’ maternal uncle Ahal Besorai told.
“My sister, their mom, was murdered on October 7. The children did not know that,” he told the media outlet. “We thought they were together when they were kidnapped, but they were separated from the outset.”
“When they first crossed the border and reunited with their grandmother and older brother, the first news that they had to confront was the fact that their mom was no longer alive. And that was a terribly emotional and traumatic moment for them,” Mr Besorai added.
Siblings’ father Dror is believed to still be a captive in the Gaza strip.
“There were a lot of tears, a lot of pain,” Mr Besorai added in a separate interview with The Guardian.
The teens were handcuffed, blindfolded and eventually handed over to the Red Cross.
“They tried to hide it from the lady who stayed behind, all on her own – so maybe [that] put some psychological pressure on her,” Mr Besorai said.
Mr Besorai refrained from detailing their experience but said, “It wasn’t pleasant, to say the least. It was horrible.”
Despite their ordeal, Noam expressed compassion for the Gazans they encountered during the release.
Now free, the siblings are focusing on recovery, having lost weight during captivity.
However, concerns linger about the long-term impact of the traumatic experience on their well-being.
“When I spoke to them, the first time I spoke to Alma, the 13-year-old niece, she had this enormously big smile and glittering eyes when she came to the Zoom call,” Besorai also said.
“And this is what stuck in my head: What is behind these glittering eyes? What is deep inside them following this horrible ordeal? It is just very difficult for me to assess,” he added, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, another 11 Israeli hostages were released by Hamas Monday night as part of the four-day ceasefire agreement – two women and nine children. The two women were each released with two of their children. There were also two sets of two brothers released.