‘I left my good friends’: In videos shown in Tel Aviv, freed hostages share their stories. #left #good #friends #videos #shown #Tel #Aviv #freed #hostages #share #stories

Sitting on a couch next to a crocheted blanket, Adina Moshe introduced herself in a video as having been released from the captivity of Hamas.

The voice of the 72-year-old was quiet. “I left my good friends from Kibbutz Nir Oz there,” she said. Ms. Moshe was held hostage in Gaza for 49 days after witnessing militants kill her husband, Said David Moshe, in a surprise attack on Oct. 7.

Like many freed hostages, she made a plea to the Israeli government.

“Please make sure that we free everyone first,” she said. “Bring them home, then take military action.”

On Saturday night, Ms. Moshe was one of the hostages who recounted personal stories in videos released publicly for the first time. While family members have shared accounts of the conditions they faced in captivity, including being denied adequate food, being squeezed into tight quarters and being forced to watch disturbing footage of the Oct. 7 attacks, this was one of the first times that some of the freed captives addressed the camera.

The videos were projected in Tel Aviv’s so-called Hostage Square, where throngs of protesters have regularly gathered to demand the release of hostages held captive since the beginning of the war. Relatives of the remaining prisoners have warned that time is running out for their loved ones and have been pressuring the government to make their freedom an urgent priority.

Hamas released 105 hostages in exchange for 240 imprisoned Palestinians over a weeklong cease-fire that ended on Dec. 1. There have been no exchanges since.

Among those who appeared in video testimonials was Ofelia Adit Roitman, 77, who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz and taken into Gaza on the floor of a tractor. She appeared with a large bandage around her arm and her hand and said she was hit with a large rifle on Oct. 7.

“I was very scared the first two weeks,” said Ms. Roitman, who was held hostage for 53 days. “I thought I was crazy because I was alone. There was barely any light. There was barely any food.”

“It reminded me of the Holocaust,” she continued. She mimicked tearing a piece of pita, saying she would only eat pieces of the bread so that she would have food for the next day.

Maya Regev, 21, was released after being held hostage for 50 days. Her brother, Itay Regev, 18, was released four days later. They appeared in a video together wearing T-shirts that bore the face of their friend Omer Shem-Tov, 21, another Israeli taken hostage who was still in captivity. The three were kidnapped from the music festival in Re’im on Oct. 7.

“Every day there is like hell,” Maya said from a wheelchair, having undergone surgeries for a gunshot wound in her leg.

Through tears, the siblings echoed one another, pleading for their friend’s return. “I have a friend named Omer, and I really, really miss him,” Itay said, gently holding his shirt away from his chest.

“I know what he is going through in there, and I know how frightening it is,” he said.

Gaya Gupta contributed reporting.

#left #good #friends #videos #shown #Tel #Aviv #freed #hostages #share #stories

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