Hamas released a second group of 13 Israeli hostages on Saturday as part of a ceasefire agreement, a day after freeing 13 others.
Saturday’s group of Israelis – made up entirely of women and children – included six members of an extended family from the ravaged Israeli border village of Beeri, all of whom were kidnapped during the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on the 7th. october.
Here’s what we know about the Israelis released on Saturday. (Read more about the Israeli hostages who have already been freed here.)
Shoshan Haran, 67 years old
Shoshan Haran was taken hostage from Kibbutz Beeri along with six other members of her extended family. Her husband, Avshalom Haran, was killed in the October 7 assault, as were her sister, Lilach Kipnis, a psychologist and peace activist, and her husband, Evyatar Kipnis, 65.
The body of Mr Kipnis’ carer, Paul Castelvi, was found in a nearby forest.
The extended family, all residents of Beeri, were celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot at Ms. Haran’s home when the village was struck. Several family members were considered missing for days and weeks before being identified as among the dead or kidnapped.
Shoshan Haran holds Israeli and German nationality. A plant protection expert and doctor of agronomy, she worked for many years in the seed industry, then founded Fair Planet, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping small farms in developing countries.
Adi Shoham, 38 years old; Naveh, 8 years old; Yahel, 3 years old
Adi Shoham, the daughter of Shoshan Haran and a resident of Beeri, was released along with her son Naveh, 8, and daughter Yahel, 3. Her husband, Tal Shoham, 38, remains in captivity.
A psychologist, Ms. Shoham has worked in recent years to promote mindfulness as a way to alleviate stress among residents of southern Israel who have lived under the threat of rocket fire from Gaza for more than two decades.
Yuval Haran, 36, brother of Adi Shoham and son of Shoshan Haran, was absent from the kibbutz on October 7 and became the voice of his captive family. He was at the forefront of a five-day march this month, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I’m tired of sitting around,” he said. “I want to start walking where decisions are made.”
Sharon Avigdori, 52; Noam Avigdori, 12 years old
Sharon Avigdori, Avshalom Haran’s sister and a drama therapist, was visiting family in Beeri with her daughter, Noam Avigdori, when they were arrested.
Sharon Avigdori works with autistic people and lives in Hod Hasharon, central Israel. Her husband, Hen Avigdori, and their son Omer, 16, had stayed home this weekend.
Mr. Avigdori, television writer, told the Jerusalem Post this month, he was “a man on a mission” to bring back his wife and daughter. He said his wife’s work “changes the world.”
He described his daughter as a young socialite and an excellent student. “She loves learning, she’s hilarious, she has a very sarcastic sense of humor, she makes me laugh,” he said.
Emily Main, 9 years old
Emily Hand, an Irish Israeli, was kidnapped during a sleepover at a friend’s house on Kibbutz Beeri and I was 9 years old in captivity.
His family initially believed she had been killed in the attack, but was later informed that she had been kidnapped. Her older sister, Natalie Hand, told Israel’s Channel 12 that the family cried for Emily when they learned she had been killed.
“We were told she had been murdered; we were in mourning,” she said. Then, “on October 31, they told us that it was very likely that she had been kidnapped.”
Speaking recently at a press conference at the Israeli Embassy in London, her father, Thomas Hand, said: “I’m going to pull every string I can for my own daughter, and I hope that it will also help others. »
The Irish President met Mr. Hand these last weeks.
Maya Regev, 21 years old
Maya Regev was at the Tribe of Nova music festival on October 7 when Hamas attackers infiltrated Israel and massacred hundreds of young festival-goers. Her brother Itay, with whom she attended the festival, is believed to still be detained in Gaza.
Their father, Ilan Regev Derby, described in October being haunted by the last conversation he had with Ms Regev, which he recorded on his phone. She called out as the gunmen got closer.
In a Hamas video, Itay is shown with his hands tied in the back of a pickup truck, alive. Another friend they attended the festival with, Omer Shem Tov, is also believed to still be present in Gaza.
Mirit Regev, Maya’s mother, expressed the mixed feelings of many families in a statement on Sunday:
“I’m excited and happy that Maya is on her way to us now. Nevertheless, my heart is broken because my son, Itay, is still in Hamas captivity in Gaza,” she said, adding: “I will hug Maya very tightly. We won’t stop until Itay and all the hostages return home.
Alma or, 13; Noam Gold, 17 years old
Alma Or and Noam Or were kidnapped on October 7 from their home in Beeri, a kibbutz near the border with Gaza. They were taken hostage along with their father, Dror, who is believed to still be detained in Gaza.
Their mother, Yonat, was among dozens of people killed at Kibbutz Beeri.
Hila Rotem Shoshani, 12 years old
Hila Rotem Shoshani was hiding in her family safe with her mother, Raaya, on the morning of October 7, before they were kidnapped from their home on Kibbutz Beeri, according to the Times of Israel.
The outlet reported that Raaya, who is believed to still be detained in Gaza, sent a text message to her brother around noon, telling him that she and her daughter were being taken away. That was the last time anyone heard from him. Their family was informed on October 29 that the mother and daughter were being held captive.
Noga Weiss, 18 years old; Shiri Weiss, 53 years old
Shiri Weiss and Noga Weiss, mother and daughter, were kidnapped from Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7.
Noga was hiding under a bed when she sent a text message to the family group that her mother had been taken from their safe, her first cousin, Oren Rubinstein, said at a rally in the San Francisco area on November 4.
Noga fled his home, which was engulfed in flames, and tried to hide outside in nearby bushes, according to Mr. Rubinstein. The last time her family heard from her was a text: “They’re coming. »
Her family was able to track her location live through WhatsApp as she moved to Gaza, he said.
Mr. Rubinstein demanded their release at rallies in the San Francisco area, where he lives.
“It’s a nightmare,” he said during the rally, which was recorded and posted on YouTube by Unxeptable, an organization created by Israeli citizens in 2020 to protest their country’s right-wing government.
“And we have to remember: we have to support those who will bring them home. The Israeli army will take them home; American special forces will take them home.”
Shiri’s husband, Ilan Weiss, left their home on the morning of October 7 to join an emergency team, according to the Times of Israel, and is still considered missing. According to the kibbutz administration, Shiri’s brother Gil, a member of the local civilian emergency response team, was killed during the Battle of Beeri.
Jeffrey Gettleman reports contributed.