ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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To show what's not there

Kibbutz Nir Oz families document themselves before and after Oct. 7

Photographers create edited images of families broken apart by death and captivity

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

The Munders from Kibbutz Nir Oz -- grandfather Avraham Munder is still held captive in Gaza, represented by the empty seat, while his grandson, Ohad and wife Ruti, were released after 49 days in captivity after the family was taken hostage on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)
The Munders from Kibbutz Nir Oz -- grandfather Avraham Munder is still held captive in Gaza, represented by the empty seat, while his grandson, Ohad and wife Ruti, were released after 49 days in captivity after the family was taken hostage on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

As some of the surviving families from Kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the Gaza border communities violently assaulted by Hamas terrorists on October 7, returned to see the ruins of their homes, they were reminded of what life looked like before that black Shabbat day, and who is still missing.

Lior Peri, the son of 80-year-old Gaza hostage Haim Peri, sat on his father’s front porch and remembered taking a photo there two years earlier in the same spot.

His wife, Sharon Derhy, had captured a peaceful moment as Lior and his father sat together, reading the weekend papers.

Lior Peri asked his sister, Noam, to photograph him again in the same spot, this time without his father.

Haim Peri, a father of five and grandfather of 13, who takes essential heart medications, is still held hostage.

Derhy then edited the two images together, one showing father and son on that weekend morning, the other of Lior alone next to an empty chair, a photo of his father hanging on the door of his destroyed home.

Haim and Lior Peri, father and son, sit together in their Nir Oz home before October 7, 2023, and Lior sits alone, awaiting his father’s release from Hamas captivity (Courtesy Sharon Derhy)

That photo led to other images of Nir Oz families, all reeling from the violent abductions, murders and destruction of their homes.

The photos are being taken and created by Derhy and photographer Michal Chitayat, as part of an ongoing project.

Haim Peri and his wife, Osnat, who survived the October 7 onslaught, are neighbors with Oded and Yocheved Lifshitz.

Oded and Yocheved Lifshitz in April 2023 in their Kibbutz Nir Oz home, and after Hamas terrorists destroyed it on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

When Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, was released after 17 days in Gaza captivity, she said that she had seen Haim Peri alive in Gaza.

Her husband, Oded, 83, is still held captive as well.

Yocheved hasn’t been able to return to Nir Oz yet, but the participating photographers shot photos of her ruined, burned home.

They showed the remnants of Oded’s piano, and juxtaposed it with a photo of their home in April, when everything was in its proper place.

The photographers also documented the Munder family, an extended family unit torn apart on October 7.

The Munders from Kibbutz Nir Oz. Grandfather Avraham Munder is still held captive in Gaza while his grandson, Ohad and wife Ruti were released after 49 days in captivity after the family was taken hostage on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

Ruti Munder, 78, her daughter Keren, 54 and Keren’s son, Ohad, 9, were taken captive and released after 49 days.

Avraham Munder, Ruti’s husband, a man with significant health issues, is still held hostage in Gaza.

The Munders’ other child, Roi Munder, 50, was killed in his Nir Oz home on October 7.

Another neighboring family from Nir Oz separated by the violent attacks is the Coopers.

Nurit and Amiram Cooper were taken hostage to Gaza on October 7, 2023. Here they’re pictured with a grandson before the October 7 attacks, and Nurit and her grandson after she was released following 49 days of captivity (Courtesy)

Nurit Cooper, 79, was released after 17 days, at the same time as Yocheved Lifshitz.

Amiram Cooper, 85, a Nir Oz founder, is still held captive.

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