Portraits of Individuals Detained by Hamas Following an Assault on Israel

by Joshua Brown
Hamas Hostage Crisis

Following an aggressive incident targeting Israel, a temporary armistice agreement has been reached, promising the liberation of numerous individuals held by Hamas in the Gaza region. This development brings a ray of hope to the relatives and acquaintances of those captives, who have been under Hamas’ control since their kidnapping from southern Israel by militants on October 7th.

Approximately 240 individuals were forcibly taken to Gaza during Hamas’ violent incursion. Both Israel and Hamas consented to a four-day ceasefire, which includes the release of Palestinian detainees by Israel.

As per the arrangement declared by Qatar, 50 detainees will be exchanged for around 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, as asserted by Hamas. Both sides have agreed to release women and minors. Israel has stated that for every additional 10 hostages released, the truce will be prolonged by one day.

Although this agreement, if realized, will bring immense relief to many families, it is anticipated that a considerable number of hostages will continue to remain under Hamas’ captivity. The ongoing ordeal of these families has profoundly affected Israelis, garnering widespread empathetic support.

Individual Stories of the Hostages

Emily Hand

Emily Tony Korenberg Hand, who celebrated her eighth birthday with a circus-themed party at Kibbutz Be’eri near the Gaza Strip, is now believed to be in Gaza, having been abducted by militants. Her ninth birthday passed without celebration. Her father, Thomas Hand, expressed his anguish and fear for her safety through a Zoom call. Initially, he was informed of her death, which he found oddly comforting compared to the thought of her being held hostage. However, later it was confirmed that Emily was not among the dead. A billboard campaign in the United States, including in Times Square, features images of Emily and other hostages, as an effort by her father to keep her plight in the public eye.

Itay Chen

Itay Chen, a 19-year-old Israeli-American, was captured while on military duty. Known for his tenacity on the basketball court, his father Ruby Chen spoke of instilling a “New York tough” attitude in him. Itay idolized Kobe Bryant and had plans that were cut short by the Hamas attack.

Liat Beinin and Aviv Atzili

Liat Beinin, an Israeli-American teacher, and Aviv Atzili, an artist and mechanic, both 49, were captured during Hamas’ attack on Kibbutz Nir Oz. Their commitment to peace and compassion is highlighted by their adoption of a special needs dog. They have been life partners since their youth counselor days and have a shared passion for travel and art.

Luis Har

Luis Har, 70, along with his partner Clara Marman and her family, were taken hostage during an attack while attending a birthday party at a kibbutz near the Gaza border. His daughter, Rinat Sheleg, recounts his deep involvement in their family life and his culinary skills, emphasizing his role as more than just a father and grandfather.

Alex Dancyg

Alex Dancyg, a 75-year-old retired Yad Vashem historian and the son of Holocaust survivors, was abducted from the Nir Oz kibbutz. His dedication to Polish-Israeli dialogue is noted, with his friends in Warsaw expressing concern for his well-being. He played a significant role in educating Israeli guides about Jewish history in Poland.

Gong Sae Lao

Gong Sae Lao, a 26-year-old from Thailand, went to Israel to work as a farmhand for a better future for his family. He was among those taken hostage during the attack on Kibbutz Be’eri. His sudden disappearance during a Facebook Live conversation with other Thai workers marks the last contact his wife had with him.

Oded Lifshitz

Oded Lifshitz, an 83-year-old retired journalist and advocate for Arab rights, was abducted despite his lifelong efforts towards peace and reconciliation. He was involved in transporting Palestinians for medical appointments in Israel. His daughter, Sharone Lifschitz, speaks about his dedication to peace and his hopes for reconciliation.

Joshua Mollel

Joshua Loitu Mollel, a 21-year-old agriculture intern from Tanzania, was working near the Gaza Strip when he was captured. His father, Loitu Sindoeni Mollel, reflects on his son’s aspirations and the uncertainty surrounding his whereabouts.

Bibas Family

Yarden Bibas and his family, including his wife Shiri and their young sons, were abducted from their home during the attack. His sister, Ofri Bibas, describes the harrowing experience and the family’s desperate wait for their safe return.

Haran Family

The Haran family, encompassing three generations, faced a tragic fate with several members missing and others confirmed dead. Shaked Haran, an attorney, recounts the family’s commitment to social activism and peace, emphasizing the significance of their collective story in

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hamas Hostage Crisis

What is the context of the Hamas Hostage Crisis?

The Hamas Hostage Crisis refers to the abduction of numerous individuals by Hamas militants from southern Israel on October 7th. This followed a violent incursion by Hamas into Israel, resulting in about 240 people being taken hostage to Gaza.

Who are some of the individuals held hostage by Hamas?

The hostages include a diverse group of individuals such as Emily Hand, a young girl who was abducted near her birthday; Itay Chen, a 19-year-old Israeli-American soldier; Liat Beinin and Aviv Atzili, a peace-loving Israeli-American couple; and Luis Har, a 70-year-old who was attending a birthday party.

What efforts are being made for the hostages’ release?

A temporary ceasefire agreement, facilitated by Qatar, promises the release of 50 hostages in exchange for about 150 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Additionally, families and communities have launched campaigns to keep the hostages’ stories in the public eye and advocate for their release.

How has this crisis affected the families of the hostages?

The crisis has deeply impacted the families, causing immense emotional distress and anxiety. They have expressed their fears, hopes, and the void created by the absence of their loved ones, with many actively participating in campaigns for their release.

What is the international response to the Hamas Hostage Crisis?

The international community’s response involves diplomatic efforts and widespread media coverage. Various nations and organizations are calling for the humane treatment of hostages and their immediate release, highlighting the importance of peace and stability in the region.

More about Hamas Hostage Crisis

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Jenny Smith November 23, 2023 - 5:19 pm

really heartbreaking to read these stories. can’t imagine the pain these families are going through.. it’s just unfair

Sarah O'Connor November 24, 2023 - 2:53 am

i’ve been following this since day one the international community needs to step up more, it’s a dire situation!

Tomás Alvarez November 24, 2023 - 5:30 am

This article is well written but somtimes feels too distant, these are real people with families. we need to remember that.

Mike Johnson November 24, 2023 - 10:52 am

its a complex situation but at the end of the day, innocent people shoudn’t be caught up in this. hope they get released soon


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