ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Day 7 of hostage releases

Hospitals release emotional photos as families reunite with released hostages

Ziyadne siblings embrace family members; Soroka Medical Center staff cheer as release of nurse colleague announced

  • Members of the Ziyadne family embrace upon the release of Bilal and Aiysha at the Soroka Medical Center, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
    Members of the Ziyadne family embrace upon the release of Bilal and Aiysha at the Soroka Medical Center, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
  • Maya Schem embracing a family member at Sheba Medical Center, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
    Maya Schem embracing a family member at Sheba Medical Center, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
  • Mia Schem alongside her family at Sheba Medical Center after being released from captivity, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
    Mia Schem alongside her family at Sheba Medical Center after being released from captivity, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
  • Mia Schem alongside her family at Sheba Medical Center after being released from captivity, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
    Mia Schem alongside her family at Sheba Medical Center after being released from captivity, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
  • The Zaiyde siblings with family at Soroka Medical Center, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
    The Zaiyde siblings with family at Soroka Medical Center, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
  • Aisha Ziyadne, 17, released by Hamas on November 30, 2023, is reunited with relatives at Soroka Medical Center. (Courtesy: Soroka)
    Aisha Ziyadne, 17, released by Hamas on November 30, 2023, is reunited with relatives at Soroka Medical Center. (Courtesy: Soroka)
  • Amit Soussana (in purple), released by Hamas on November 30, 2023, is reunited with mother and sister at Wolfson Medical Center. (Courtesy: Wolfson)
    Amit Soussana (in purple), released by Hamas on November 30, 2023, is reunited with mother and sister at Wolfson Medical Center. (Courtesy: Wolfson)

Photos released Friday showed emotional reunions as hostages released from Gaza overnight after 55 days in captivity met family and loved ones.

The eight Israelis freed on Thursday from Hamas captivity received treatment at the Soroka and Sheba medical centers.

The freed hostages will undergo thorough medical and psychological evaluations and receive all necessary care from specially trained medical and psychosocial teams.

Emotional photos released by Soroka show siblings Bilal Ziyadne, 18, and Aisha Ziyadne, 17, embracing with family members.

The two, members of a Bedouin family from Rahat, were kidnapped from Kibbutz Holit while Bilal was working in a cowshed there, less than a mile away from the Gaza Strip. They are the first Arab Israelis to have been released since October 7. At least five are believed to be in captivity in Gaza including their father, Youssef, and older brother, Hamza.

Sheba also released photos of Mia Schem, 21, reuniting with her family. Schem was kidnapped on October 7 from the Supernova music festival near Re’im and was the first Israeli seen in a Hamas propaganda video released nine days after she was taken hostage.

Bilal Ziyadne embracing a family member at Soroka Medical Center, December 1, 2023. (Courtesy)

Schem could be seen in the video being treated after she was wounded in her arm, and later speaking to the camera. Her mother, Keren Schem, welcomed the sign of life and begged for her daughter to be freed: “I see that she’s very terrified, in a lot of pain, and I can see that she’s saying what they’re telling her to say.” Her family said they believe she was shot in the shoulder before being taken hostage.

Schem’s aunt said Thursday that a Palestinian veterinarian had operated on her arm while she was held hostage. “She underwent trauma. She’s thin, she’s weak,” Vivian Hadar told reporters. “She did physical therapy for herself.”

“We’re happy she’s with us. It’s really tough to see her like this,” Hadar added.

Wolfson Medical Center also released a photo of Amit Soussana reuniting with her mother and sister. Soussana, 40, from Kfar Aza, is a lawyer and was home sick with fever when she was abducted.

Amit Soussana (in purple) with her mother and sister at Wolfson Medical Center, December 1, 2023. (Wolfson Medical Center)

She texted her family on October 7 that there were terrorists “outside my window… it’s scary, it doesn’t seem real.” Around 10 a.m. she told them she was going to hide in a closet and that her cellphone battery was about to run out — the last they heard from her.

A video from Soroka Medical Center shows staff celebrating the release of Nili Margalit, 40, who works as a nurse at the hospital.

When former hostage Yocheved Lifshitz was released on October 23, she reported that Margalit had been held captive with her, and was working as a nurse, caring for people, “just like she always does,” said one of Margalit’s friends in a Kan video.

During the week-long truce between Israel and Hamas, which ended Friday, 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity in Gaza: 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals and one Filipino.

Earlier, four hostages were released, one was rescued by the IDF, and 2 bodies were recovered. It is believed that 137 hostages remain in Gaza. Israel released 210 Palestinian security prisoners, all women and minors.

Amy Spiro contributed reporting.

 

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