Israeli woman whose 80-year-old father was among those taken hostage: ‘Save their lives’

israel attack kibbutz Rocket shells are left on the grass outside a house where civilians and soldiers were killed by Hamas militants days earlier, Oct. 11, 2023, in Be'eri, Israel. | Credit: Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

An Israeli woman whose father was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists urged world governments Wednesday for assistance in contacting loved ones and ensuring their safety amid widespread reports of kidnappings. 

Social media feeds and news reports have indicated that considerable numbers of Israeli citizens, including many women and children, have been kidnapped by Hamas militants in the days since Hamas first launched missiles against Israel and invaded its borders. 

At an Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) press conference on Wednesday afternoon, 40-year-old Israeli citizen Noam Perry told reporters that her father, 80-year-old Haim Perry, had been taken by soldiers from the Gaza Strip during the initial invasion. 

“Dozens of terrorists invaded the kibbutz and started butchering the residents, going house by house,” Perry said. “They butchered my friends, people I grew up with. There is no family in the kibbutz that was left unhurt.”

Perry said her father is among the 80 missing members of the kibbutz where they lived. Upon encountering Hamas invaders in his home, he was “able to push [them] away, giving my mother precious minutes to hide,” Perry said. He was subsequently taken. 

“We haven’t heard anything from my father or the other kidnapped members of the kibbutz since Saturday,” Perry said. “It has been five long sleepless days and nights.”

The hostage crisis has brought international condemnation and calls for the release of noncombatant captives. Pope Francis in his weekly general audience on Wednesday asked “that the hostages be immediately released.”

President Joe Biden on Tuesday denounced Hamas for what he said was the “brutality” and “bloodthirstiness” of the terrorist group. 

The president called it “abhorrent” that Hamas “has now threatened to execute [hostages] in violation of every code of human morality.”

Biden said he has directed his cabinet “to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise the Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts,” including the recovery of American hostages. 

In Israel, Perry urged governments around the world to “help us contact our loved ones.” 

“Ask our governments to assist in contacting the kidnapped and assure they are alive and have what they need to survive,” she said. “I know you and your governments can make a difference and save their lives.”

During a brief question-and-answer period, MFA spokesman Lior Hayat responded to a query about mediations with hostage-takers by stating: “I don’t think this is time for negotiations.”

“We’re still fighting with terrorists that are entering Israeli territory,” he said. “We will get to that when we finish with the military operation.”

Shortly thereafter, Hayat quickly ended the press conference, explaining that the news team was being called to a nearby emergency shelter. 

“There is apparently an attack on Israel right now,” he told journalists before signing off. 

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