Ohad Ben Ami, 57, was taken hostage with his wife, Raz Ben Ami, also 57, from their home in Kibbutz Be’eri by Hamas terrorists on October 7, as the terror group slaughtered and kidnapped residents, committing brutal atrocities.
Raz Ben Ami was released on November 29 as part of an extended temporary ceasefire deal brokered by Qatar and the United States between Hamas and Israel.
One of their three daughters, Ela, was also on Be’eri and survived.
She had been in touch with her father on WhatsApp that morning, until the moment he was kidnapped, around 10 a.m.
Another daughter, Natalie Ben Ami, lives nearby on Kibbutz Nahal Oz with her boyfriend and was also in touch with her parents until the moment they were abducted.
Ohad’s last message on WhatsApp said, “Shma Yisrael, they’re here,” citing the foundational Jewish prayer.
He then gave her instructions about his will. Both Ohad and Raz also have German citizenship.
A photo of Ohad appeared on social media two weeks later, showing him in a T-shirt and underwear, being pulled by his shirt by a terrorist.
Two days after Raz Ben Ami was released, she made her way to Tel Aviv’s temporary Hostages Square on Friday to call for her husband’s release.
The Ben Amis have all been active since Raz’s release, speaking publicly, giving interviews and calling on the government to initiate a new agreement for the release of their loved ones.
“I won’t give up until he’s here,” said Raz Ben Ami, who suffers brain tumors that press on nerves in her skull.
Ben Ami adds that she warned members of the government that the ground offensive in Gaza was putting hostages at risk.
“Unfortunately we were right,” she says, “A military operation alone will not save the lives of the hostages.”