ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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In Gaza tunnels, a hostage child found comfort in his former caregiver

Eitan Yahalomi, 12, with his mother in Ichilov hospital on November 27, 2023, after being released by Hamas in a truce agreement. (IDF)
Eitan Yahalomi, 12, with his mother in Ichilov hospital on November 27, 2023, after being released by Hamas in a truce agreement. (IDF)

Eitan Yahalomi, a 12-year-old boy from Nir Oz who was separated from his family on October 7 and abducted into Gaza alone, was able to find comfort once united with a familiar face in the depths of Hamas captivity: that of his former daycare teacher.

Esther Yahalomi, the grandmother of the recently freed tween, says his first 16 days as a hostage were the toughest because he was left completely alone.

“A month ago they moved him to a group of people from Nir Oz, and it was much easier for him there. His caregiver from preschool was there, and he was able to see familiar faces,” she tells Hebrew-language media outside the Tel Aviv hospital where he is recuperating.

The grandmother says the boy appears to be thinner than normal, and will not smile or really even speak. “He’s very, very subdued. I think it’s going to take him some time. It’s going to take a lot of work to get him to a place where he is able to talk.”

 

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