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Day 229: Iron Swords War

By Leah Garber

A few hours ago, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum released an edited version of chilling documentation from the Nahal Oz base that shows Hamas terrorists abducting five IDF lookout soldiers during the massacre and atrocities committed on October 7.

The video excludes especially distressing content, including the 54 people killed at the base, many others who were injured, and numerous other violent segments. Although we are spared from viewing this gruesome footage, there is ample evidence—often recorded on body cams and cell phones of the terrorists themselves—of the rape and sexual assault victims and the atrocities they endured. The terrorists were diligent in documenting their actions, proudly sharing the videos with their commanders back in Gaza.

The families of the five soldiers shown in this disturbing video approved its release as part of their ongoing effort to influence decision makers in Israel and public opinion in North America and across the world.

Their singular message is simple: Time is running out. Bring them home now!

Last weekend, the bodies of four hostages murdered and taken to Gaza on October 7 were rescued by Israeli soldiers in a daring operation conducted under enemy fire. The four bodies were brought home to Israel to be buried—with the respect and dignity they deserve.

How many more bodies are waiting in Gaza to be buried in Israel? Are they not deserving of a respectful grave with flowers and a Jewish star? A place where their parents, loved ones, and friends can visit, embrace, and wet with their tears?

How many hostages are still alive? Will they survive? How are the five soldiers—Liri, Agam, Naama, Daniela, and Karina—abducted that day and seen in the video released today doing?

Do not be tempted to forgo watching the video because it is difficult. Yes, it is painful—unbearably so—but that is precisely what we have been enduring for the last 229 days, a painful, unimaginable reality. We don’t have the luxury to change channels or choose a more pleasant movie. That’s not the way reality works.

Look right into the face of evil, the monstrous face of Satan himself, the face of unimaginable cruelty. Don’t close your ears to their words, either. Listen to what they said, pointing out that the beautiful female soldiers can get pregnant, and don’t block your mind from imagining what has followed.

Then, look into the eyes of the soldiers to see their terror. These are the same eyes that spotted the terrorists as they crossed the border fence and immediately reported the breach to their commanders, who couldn’t get them the help they needed. These are the same beautiful eyes that watched the terrorists brutally murder their fellow soldiers. Their eyes saw the brutality, their ears heard the screams of pain, their skin and clothes and souls absorbed the blood of their friends that splashed on them.

Don’t look away. Watch Karina, Liri, Naama, Agam, and Daniela. Watch them and imagine they are your daughters, friends, and neighbors. They are us. They are among the 128 hostages who remain in Gaza; five of the 250 who were brutally kidnapped on October 7. They are the ones denied by so many around the world. Watch this video over and over, share it with others, and make sure it reaches everyone.

Will this horrific video convince those who deny the massacre? Will it change the minds of those who support Hamas?

It is a tough evening in Israel. In response to the horrific images, the national mood immediately changed. I feel the urge to grasp all those who disbelieve us, who deny the facts, who look away, who embrace terrorist propaganda. I want to hold them and scream: “Look at these five women’s eyes! Look at us! See us!”

God in heaven, I beg you, look down at the world that You created. It is a world full of both beauty and ugliness, both good and bad. So much beauty and good, yet so much evil, too. Please, God, save those who were robbed by evil. Bring them home to life. Bring them home alive.

Liri, Agam, Naama, Daniela, and Karina, we see you, we hear you, and there isn’t a moment that goes by in which we aren’t  thinking of you. Come home.

Together, united, we will overcome.

Leah Garber is a senior vice president of JCC Association of North America and director of its Center for Israel Engagement in Jerusalem.

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