As of this morning, 120 Israeli families have been formally notified by authorities that they have loved ones held captive in Gaza. Among the first to be approached by the government was the family of Almog Meir, who spoke to Israel Today earlier this week.
Almog was among the 3,000 Israeli young people who participated in the overnight Nova music festival in the Western Negev. The fields of the Gaza periphery where the concert was held became the site of a massacre when Hamas attacked on the morning of Saturday, October 7, 2023.
Over 260 bodies of young Israelis were later found there, many of them raped, brutalized, burned alive and summarily executed.
And a large number were captured and taken hostage to Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Aviram Meir told us that he already knew before the authorities confirmed it that his nephew Almog is among the captives. The Meir family had the horror of seeing Almog in one of the video clips posted by the Hamas terrorists showing off their captives.
“Almog called his mother on Saturday morning around 7:45 am and said he was running because terrorists were shooting at them,” Aviram said. “That was the last she heard from him.”
The distraught uncle continued:
“At half past 12, Hamas released a video and we saw my nephew. He was handcuffed with another 3 or 4 guys. They were in what looks like an abandoned house. We don’t know where. But we saw his face. We knew immediately it was him.
“The army said we were among the first they came to because it was very easy to identify Almog as being among the captives. They could also see his phone was in Gaza.
“It’s comforting that we now have someone to call in the IDF and who visits with and updates us.”
Even so, families like the Meirs want to see a bigger focus, both in Israel and internationally, on freeing the Israeli hostages.
“We are part of a large group (and there are others) of about 60 families who have loved ones in Gaza. We are trying to figure out what we can do.
“There is a sense of helplessness, but we are all now trying to become proactive. We have to do something. And the world must support us.”
Yesterday, families of captive Israelis publicly demanded that every single one be returned alive, and Infrastructure Minister Israel Katz tweeted that Gaza would remain without electricity and water until all Israeli hostages were freed.
Some fear that as the Israel Air Force reduces Hamas-ruled Gaza to rubble, the chances of all their loved ones returning is diminishing.
Aviram said on this point, his and other families are torn: “We want victory. But we also want our loved ones safe. We want them back. Almog must return.”
The family has set up an Instagram profile where you can see more updates and images of Almog: Save Almog
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