Israel StoryProduced in partnership with The Times of Israel

Wartime Diaries: Moriah Cohen

After being stabbed on the street, a woman prepares for her attacker to return to their shared neighborhood.

Moriah Cohen (Israel Story)
Moriah Cohen (Israel Story)

On Saturday, four hostages – Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Almog Meir Jan and Andrey Kozlov – were heroically rescued by the Israeli security forces and safely brought home alive. Still, 120 hostages remain in Gaza – 43 of whom have already been declared dead – and the pressure to sign a deal that will bring them home is mounting from day to day.

Such a deal, of course, has two sides: We tend to focus on what we stand to get, i.e. the hostages. To many, that’s really all that matters. But there are also those who emphasize the other side – what we’d be forced to give, the price we’d need to pay and the people we’d need to release. Our episode today brings us that part of the story.

Moriah Cohen is 29 years old. She and her family are part of the small Jewish settlement of Shimon HaTzadik, inside the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarah in East Jerusalem. For years, this neighborhood has been a focal point of legal battles, demonstrations and violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians.

On December 8th, 2021, Moriah was stabbed right outside her home. Her attacker was Nafoz Hamad, her next door neighbor’s 14-year-old daughter. Hamad was apprehended, tried and sentenced to 12 years in prison. But then, in November 2023, as part of the prisoner swap between Israel and the Hamas that brought 80 Israeli hostages back home, she was set free. And not only was she released, Hamad moved back home, right across the street from her victim, Moriah.

We visited Moriah in her home, and talked about this complicated and utterly surreal reality.

Maya Thomas is our dubber.

The end song is Hacheder Ha’Intimi Sheli (“My Intimate Room”) by Taarovet Eskot. (Licensed by Israel Story through Acum.)

Produced in partnership with The Times of Israel.

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