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Thursday, November 30, 2023

‘Not figuring out’ plunges the households of Israel’s lacking right into a limbo of ache and numbness

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LONDON — The households of Israel’s {dead} are holding funerals and mourning within the wake of Hamas’ lethal rampage. The family members of individuals thought to have been taken hostage are demanding the captives’ launch.

However practically two weeks after the worst civilian bloodbath in Israel’s historical past, the households of the lacking are wandering by way of a panorama of ache and numbness with no clear horizon and few, if any solutions. The not-knowing, they are saying, plunges them into cycles of sorrow and hope.

“I don’t know what shall be,” stated Rachel Goldberg, whose 23-year-old son, Hersh Goldberg-Polin was final seen being loaded right into a pickup with different hostages kidnapped by the Hamas militants from the Tribe of Nova music pageant. Witnesses stated he misplaced a part of an arm in a grenade assault.

“So within the meantime, I simply preserve strolling by way of hell, as a result of if I cease, then I’m simply in hell,” his mom stated.

The Related Press has documented greater than 250 individuals who disappeared within the assaults. Of these, round 140 are confirmed as seemingly hostages, whether or not by witnesses who noticed them being taken away by Hamas militants, military data given to their households, or by their appearances on social media posted by Hamas.

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At the least 85 of the lacking are both overseas or twin nationals, in line with the AP knowledge. At the least 20 are kids.

Israel this week up to date its checklist of hostages to 199, and households say the military has begun contacting them, however with little data on their relations’ fates.

“They’re caught within the limbo of what I name ambiguous loss,” Pauline Boss, professor emeritus of the College of Minnesota and an writer on the topic, stated of the households.

“It immobilizes folks; they’re caught, as a result of they simply do not know.”

On Tuesday one household obtained a measure of excellent information when Hamas launched a video displaying a dazed Mia Schem, 21, after she’d been seized on the music pageant, the place at the least 260 folks had been killed. It was among the many first indicators of life from any of the hostages for the reason that closely armed Hamas gunmen smashed by way of the border fortifications on Oct. 7, killing greater than 1,400 folks in Israel.

“I didn’t know if she’s {dead} or alive till yesterday,” her mom, Keren Schem, stated at a information convention. “I’m begging the world to deliver my child again residence.”

The prospect of rescuing hostages, or of simply getting their treatment to them so they may survive, is extremely unclear in what has grow to be probably the most complicated hostage disaster in Israeli historical past. Hamas is regarded as holding them in a warren of tunnels deep underneath Gaza Metropolis as Israel kilos the seaside strip.

On the identical time, figuring out the {dead} has been sluggish. At Shura navy base in central Israel, our bodies have been coming in quicker than they are often recognized, partly due to their situation. A whole bunch of troopers, ladies, and kids in physique luggage line cabinets of refrigerated vehicles, awaiting examination.

So the households of the lacking wait — and anguish.

Ilan Regev, father of pageant attendees Maya and Itay, drove frantically to the pageant web site after receiving a blood-curdling telephone name from his 21-year-old daughter amid gunfire. When he obtained there, Regev was barred from coming into, and there was no one to talk to him. He spent the day looking for his kids, between the pageant grounds and a close-by hospital.

A Hamas video indicated his 18-year-old son had been taken hostage. However days later, the military might solely say that the siblings had been captives — not even whether or not they had been alive, or in the event that they had been wounded.

He has been, Regev stated, “like a {dead} individual” with worry and uncertainty. “I need to know if my kids are alive. And so they informed me that for now, they can’t inform me.”

“We’re discovering ourselves in a nasty film,” stated Mirit Regev, their mom.

At a borrowed home close to Jerusalem, Iris Haim says her household is receiving help and welcome distraction from family and friends as they await phrase of her son Yotam’s whereabouts.

Haim’s 28-year-old son was final seen in a video he took displaying himself within the entrance door of his residence in Kfar Aza, a kibbutz close to the Gaza Strip. The pop-pop-pop of gunfire might be heard earlier than he heads inside and the video ends. Her son texted the video to her and he or she confirmed it to the AP.

Haim stated her two different kids are battling sleep points and even self-blame for his or her brother’s disappearance.

Members of the band Yotam, a drummer, performs with visited the household over the weekend and “simply jammed,” Iris Haim stated. Ultimately, she wept for her son.

“I feel once I heard them play it was like opening my tear ducts,” she stated. “It made me in a position to cry.”

“I attempt on a regular basis to be sturdy,” she added. “As a result of I don’t need to really feel weak, right here, now.”


Noveck reported from Los Angeles. Hinnant reported from Paris.


Observe Kellman on X, previously Twitter, at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman

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