ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Photos, videos show emotional hostage reunions, as doctors say most in good health

Several freed hostages discharged from hospital Monday, including 9-year-old Emily Hand; medical center chief says released captives ‘have a long way to go’ to full mental recovery

The reunification of the Brodutch family, with father Avichai embracing his children who were held by terrorists in Gaza for 51 days, November 27, 2023. (Schneider Medical Center)
The reunification of the Brodutch family, with father Avichai embracing his children who were held by terrorists in Gaza for 51 days, November 27, 2023. (Schneider Medical Center)

Videos and photos shared Monday show the emotional reunions with family members of the hostages released from Gaza on Sunday evening after 51 days in captivity, as doctors say that most are in good shape and have already gone home or will soon do so.

Elma Avraham, 84, remains in critical condition at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, after she was brought straight there in a helicopter Sunday night. Maya Regev, 21, was also taken there to undergo surgery. Regev was shot in the leg before being kidnapped from the Supernova music festival.

Prof. Itai Pessach, director of the Lily Safra Children’s Hospital at Sheba Medical Center, said Monday afternoon that the overall physical health of the latest group of freed hostages treated at the center is good.

In a statement to the press, Pessach said that all of the freed hostages who have been treated at the hospital — children, their mothers, and their grandmothers — have undergone extensive physical and mental health evaluations, and those who required it have undergone medical treatment as well.

Pessach reported that the freed hostages have been cared for by top experts in various medical fields and psychosocial support. He added that while some of them were ready to be discharged and will continue to receive treatment and support in their own homes, others have chosen to remain in the hospital for a while longer, in order to take the necessary time to readjust.

“Seeing the hostages reunited with their families and the fact that they are recovering physically gives a sense of optimism, but given their difficult, complex stories of captivity, they will have a long way to go until they are [fully] healed,” Pessach said.

Maayan Zin embraces her daughters, Dafna Elyakim, 15, and Ela Elyakim, 8, after they were released from captivity in Gaza on November 26, 2023. (Courtesy)

In a separate statement, Sheba Medical Center said that former hostages Noga Weiss, 18, and her mother Shiri Weiss, 53, were discharged on Monday evening, as well as five members of the Haran-Avigdori-Shoham family: Noam Avigdori, 12, and her mother Sharon Avigdori, 52, Shoshan Haran and her daughter Adi Shoham, 38, along with Shoham’s son Naveh, 8, and daughter Yahel, 3.

In addition, 9-year-old Emily Hand, who was held captive without any family members, returned home from the hospital, the statement said. All were abducted by Hamas from Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7.

Family members have been holding emotional reunions with their loved ones who were freed from Gaza over the past few days, after more than seven weeks of Hamas captivity, with images and videos being shared with their permission.

A smiling 4-year-old Avigail Idan was photographed with her aunt, uncle, and grandparents at the Schneider Medical Center, following her release on Sunday night.

Her family approved the release of the photographs, which showed Idan reuniting with them for the first time since October 7, when she witnessed the murder of her parents, before being taken hostage along with her neighbors.

Avigail Idan is reunited with her aunt Liron, uncle Zuli and grandparents Shlomit and Eitan at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center, on November 27, 2023. (Schneider Children’s Medical Center)

Footage was also published on Monday of the first reunion of Maayan Zin with her two daughters, Dafna, 15, and Ela, 8, Elyakim, after they were released Sunday night from Gaza.

Zin campaigned vocally and publicly for their release, and garnered more than 22,000 followers on X, formerly Twitter, as she fought to raise awareness about their plight. On Monday afternoon, Zin shared a video of her reunion with her daughters, writing: “My precious daughters were returned to me yesterday, a moment etched forever in my memory. Thank you for making it happen.”

Photos were also published of the reunification of the Brodutch family, after mother Hagar, 40, and the family’s three children, Ofri, 10, Yuval, 9, and Oriya, 4, were released by Hamas on Sunday evening.

The images, showing their emotional reunion with their husband and dad Avichai Brodutch, were published with the family’s permission.

The reunification of the Brodutch family, with father Avichai meeting his wife Hagar and their children Ofri, 10, Yuval, 9 and Oriya, 4, after the latter four were held by terrorists in Gaza for 51 days, November 27, 2023. (Spokesperson’s Office, Schneider Children’s Medical Center)

In addition to those who have been freed from captivity in the deal between Israel and Hamas, 17 Thai nationals who were working in Israel at the time of the October 7 attack have so far been released in a separate deal negotiated by Thailand.

Photos shared by Thailand’s foreign ministry early on Monday morning showed a group of Thai hostages reuniting at the Assaf Harofeh hospital inside Israel. The Thai embassy has requested that media not name the freed hostages, amid concern for those still being held captive.

Thai nationals freed from Gazan captivity hug at a hospital in Israel in a photo released by the Thai government on November 27, 2023. (Courtesy)

“The group is now at the designated medical center where the Royal Thai Embassy officials are on hand to contact their families,” the Thai Foreign Ministry said in an accompanying statement. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warmly congratulates the recently released hostages and their families and thanks all parties involved in the efforts towards this latest release.”

Video shared by the hospital showed the three hostages released on Sunday arriving at the medical center in the early hours of Monday morning to the cheers of the staff and Thai embassy workers.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that there was “great excitement” when the three newest released Thai hostages arrived at the medical center early Monday morning and met with their friends.

The ministry and the hospital said that because most of the Thai nationals released do not have any family members in Israel, the staff has been providing them a full range of social and psychological support services and “wrapped them in love and warmth around the clock” to ease their adjustment to freedom.

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