Among those believed to be captives in Gaza are children, festival-goers, peace activists, caregivers, elderly people and soldiers. Here are some of their names and stories
18 October 2023// The Guardian
Ten members of a single family disappeared after Hamas assaulted the Be’eri kibbutz early on 7 October. Lilach Kipnis, 60, and her husband, Eviatar, 65, were taking refuge in the shelter of their home when their relatives last heard from them. Eight other family members also went missing from the kibbutz: Lilach’s sister Shoshan Haran, the founder of an agricultural NGO; her husband, Avshalom Haran; their daughter Adi Shoham; her partner, Tal Shoham; their two children, Naveh and Yahel Shoham, who are eight and three; Avshalom’s sister Sharon Avigdori; and her daughter Noam Avigdori.
The bodies of Eviatar Kipnis and Avshalom Haran were found on Tuesday 17 October. Eviatar Kipnis’s carer, Paul Vincent Castelvi, who was also killed, is one of three caregivers from the Philippines to have lost their lives.
Yonat Or, 50, her husband, Dror, also 50, and two of their three children, Noam, 15 and Alma, 13, are also missing after the attack on the Be’eri kibbutz. “Should I cry because they are dead already?” asked Yonat’s brother, Ahal Besorai. “Should I be happy because maybe they are captured but still alive? I pray to God every day that she will be found alive with her family and we can all be reunited.”
Vivian Silver, 74, a Canadian-born feminist activist who has long called for peace with Palestinians, was also snatched from the same kibbutz. “She is a fighter for justice, and a great mother and grandmother,” Silver’s son, Yonatan Zeigen, 35, told Agence France-Presse.
Alex Dancyg, 75, a Holocaust historian who has written books on Poland’s Jewish community and the systematic murder of Jews during the second world war, was taken from the Nir-oz kibbutz. “All the guides in Poland, in Jewish sites and in Nazi camps, only use his books,” said a tour guide at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
Ditza Heiman, 84, who worked as a social worker until she was 80, was also taken from the Nir-oz kibbutz, where she has lived for decades and played an important part in community life. Her family describes her as a beloved great-grandmother and a “woman of peace who is full of compassion and wisdom”.
Doron Asher Katz, 34, was taken from the Nir-oz kibbutz along with her daughters – Raz, five, and Aviv, three – and her mother, Efrat Katz, 67. “What are they doing to them?” asked Asher Katz’s sister, Leeor Katz-Natanzon. “Where are they? How are they treating them, with two young daughters?”
Amiram Cooper, 85, and his wife, Nurit, 80, were taken from their home on the Nir-oz kibbutz, their daughter Noa told the BBC. She said the family had last spoken to the couple during Hamas’s attack on the kibbutz but had managed to trace her father’s phone to Gaza. Noa told the broadcaster that the couple do not have their medicines.
Yaffa Adar, 85, was also kidnapped from the Nir-oz kibbutz. A video later surfaced showing her wrapped in a pink-flowered blanket and being driven in a golf cart in Gaza. Her family has denied suggestions that her unflinching demeanour in the footage suggests she was oblivious to what was happening. “She absolutely knew what was going on around her,” her granddaughter, Adva Adar, told the Associated Press. “She wasn’t going to panic.” Yaffa is without the medicine she needs for her blood pressure and her chronic pain.