'He gave me a ring on day 14, and I stayed with him until day 50'

Freed hostage: My Hamas captor gave me a ring, said I’d marry him and have his children

Noga Weiss, 18, was told other hostages would be released and she’d remain in Gaza to raise kids of captor; he reunited her with kidnapped mother to ask for her hand in marriage

Noga Weiss is interviewed on Channel 12 on April 25, 2024. (Screen capture)
Noga Weiss is interviewed on Channel 12 on April 25, 2024. (Screen capture)

Noga Weiss, who was released in a hostage deal last year after 50 days in Gaza revealed Thursday that one of her Hamas captors told her they would get married, brought her a ring and told her she would stay in Gaza forever to have and raise his children.

“He gave me a ring on day 14 [in captivity], and I stayed with him until day 50,” Noga, 18, recalled during a Channel 12 interview.

“He told me, ‘Everyone will be released, but you will stay here with me and have my children.'”

Asked how she responded, Noga said, “I pretended to laugh so he wouldn’t shoot me in the head.”

I pretended to laugh so he wouldn’t shoot me in the head

But her mother Shiri — who was also kidnapped into Gaza on October 7 and reunited with her daughter after several days — was not willing to play along.

At first, Shiri tried to politely reject the proposal, but the Hamas captor did not seem to accept the rejection, so she yelled at him until he understood, according to Meytal, one of Noga’s two sisters who sat next to her for the Channel 12 interview.

Invasion, father’s murder, abduction

Noga had been with her parents in their home in Kibbutz Be’eri when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists invaded Israel on October 7.

Her father Ilan, 56, left the home at 7:15 a.m. to join the kibbutz emergency squad and was never heard from again. It was later determined that he was killed that day and that his body was taken into Gaza.

Noga (left), Shiri (middle) and Ilan Weiss were all missing following the October 7 assault by Hamas terrorists on Kibbutz Be’eri. Noga and Shiri were taken hostage by Hamas, and released on November 25, 2023. (Courtesy)

Ilan had left his wife and daughter in the house’s safe room. “They started shooting at the door, something like 40 shots until they managed to get in. We saw the conversations on WhatsApp and understood what was happening. People were writing that their house was on fire and then stopped answering.”

Shiri, 53, told her daughter to hide under the bed, thinking that the terrorists would shoot her upon entering the room and not notice Noga.

“I went under the bed, and they came in and took her. After they took her outside, I heard gunshots. I thought she was murdered and not kidnapped,” Noga said.

As Shiri was taken out of Be’eri, she saw homes going up in flames and was sure that her daughter was experiencing the same fate, said Meytal.

Meytal, 26, and her other sister Ma’ayan, 23, were living in their own separate student apartments in other parts of Be’eri and communicated with Noga via WhatsApp throughout the day. The older sisters, who hid in their safe rooms for 12 hours until IDF soldiers were able to rescue them, urged Noga to escape their parents’ house, which was going up in flames.

Noga managed to sneak out of the house and tried to hide among some bushes but was quickly spotted, as the kibbutz was filled with terrorists.

Noga Weiss, 18, right, and her mother Shiri Weiss, 53, second from right, are received by IDF soldiers after being freed from captivity in Gaza, November 25, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

“Something like 40 terrorists surrounded me with Kalashnikovs. They tied my hands behind my back. As they took me away, I saw the bodies of people I knew from the kibbutz. A few minutes later, they put me in a car and started driving,” she recalled to Channel 12.

Constant fear in Gaza

Thousands of Palestinians, including children, cheered as their vehicle entered the streets of Gaza and tried to hit her and pull her hair through the broken windows. “I didn’t understand why they were delaying shooting me,” she said.

Noga was moved between various homes throughout her captivity, each time dressed in a hijab and told to hold the hand of her captor so onlookers would assume they were married and not Israeli hostages.

“They brought cards for us to play with, and I told myself, ‘I’ll play with them and do whatever they want as long as they don’t shoot. Their moods changed so quickly. One minute they played with us and laughed, the next they’d come in with a gun. You always had to please them,” Noga said.

She recalled how her captors constantly talked about how Israel belonged to them and that she was an occupier. One of them told her he was an elementary school teacher and that Israelis had wrongly kicked him out of his home.

After several days in captivity, her Hamas captor professed his love for Noga and told her that he was bringing his mother to their apartment so that she could give her approval for their marriage.

An Arab-looking woman later entered the apartment. Noga didn’t immediately realize that it was her mother. “I thought she’d been murdered, I thought I was alone. Suddenly, she’s alive, and I’m not alone.”

Residential homes, severely damaged during Hamas’s October 7 onslaught on southern Israel, line a street in the Olives Neighborhood of Kibbutz Be’eri on January 1, 2024. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)

Even after her mother made clear that she would not accept the marriage, the thought that she would be left in Gaza forever with her Hamas captor never escaped her.

“People don’t understand the feeling of fear,” Noga said. “I was 50 days, 24/7, with the thought that they would get tired of me and just shoot me or that they wouldn’t need me in the end, or that they would shoot us while we slept in the middle of the night.”

‘He told me everyone would be freed, but not you.’ Noga Weiss (left) is interviewed on Channel 12 on April 25, 2024. Alongside her is her sister Meytal. (Channel 12 screen capture)

Noga said she is unable to mourn for her father as long as 133 hostages remain in Gaza. “They have been there for an indescribable amount of time. At one point, they brought us a half-liter bottle of water for two days. You can’t survive like this for 200 days.”

While she has lost much of her faith in the IDF, which wasn’t there to protect her and her family on October 7, Noga plans to enlist next month.

“On the day of my release, seeing soldiers in IDF uniform, it was the first time [since October 7] that I felt safe, so that did change something,” she said.

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