‘I’m doing all I can’: the young Israeli determined to free his captured girlfriend from Gaza

Noam Alon, whose partner Inbar Haiman was abducted by Hamas in the October 7 attack in Israel, is calling on international leaders to make the safe return of hostages their priority

21 October 2023// The Guardian

Two weeks on, Noam Alon still isn’t ready to watch the video that shows his girlfriend, Inbar Haiman, being dragged towards Gaza as a hostage.

“My parents prefer that I don’t see it,” says the 24-year-old art student. “They’ve described every bit of it to me – and they haven’t made it any better or worse than it really is – but I still haven’t watched it. I don’t want it scarred in my mind. I’m trying to keep my mind as positive as I can and to do everything I can to bring her back.”

Haiman, a 27-year-old fellow artist from Haifa, was volunteering at the Nova festival in southern Israel when Hamas launched its terrorist attack early on the morning of 7 October.

When, as Alon puts it, “everything happened”, his girlfriend texted a friend at the festival, telling her to make for the open ground and to avoid the road, where the gunmen who had poured across the border were slaughtering the young festival-goers in a sustained assault that would leave more than 260 people dead and many taken captive.

He and Haiman’s family have pieced together what happened next thanks to the accounts of two young Israelis who were with her as she tried to escape. After hiding under a stage with her friends, Haiman and the pair – who she didn’t know – sprinted off into the bush to hide. It was there that a pair of attackers found her.