Mother of Israeli hostage: ‘I am waiting for my son every day’

Almog Meir Jan, 21, was kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 from the Nova music festival


Hostage Almog Meir Jan, 21, with his mother Orit

He was due to start his new job in Israel’s hi-tech sector on October 8 and had gone to the Nova music festival to celebrate his securing the new role.

Almog Meir Jan, 21, is now believed to be a hostage of Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip for nearly 150 days.

“He called me at 7:45 in the morning,” his mother Orit Meir told the JC. “He told me the army had stopped the festival. He didn’t know what was going on, but he was hiding. There were rockets coming from all directions, and he heard shooting.

“He told me he would call me every half an hour, and he said he loved me. That was the last time I heard his voice until now.”

Four hours after that call, one of Almog’s friends identified him in a video clip published by Hamas and sent it to Orit.

“I immediately recognised my son; he was in the hands of Hamas. In the video, I saw five young guys – one was Almog –  all lying on the floor, some beaten, and their hands were tied. Almog was covering his face with his hands; they all looked frightened.

“It was a moment that is indescribable, one you can’t even imagine. It’s like a knife is put in your stomach and you can’t breathe. Everything changed that instant. My life stopped there.”

It took two weeks for the parents of Almog’s friend, whom he had travelled to the festival with, to learn that their son was murdered, and his body burned.

Orit has since that day worked tirelessly to do all she can to bring her son home. She joined the Hostages and Missing Families Forum and has taken part in a wide array of initiatives to raise awareness and build support for their safe return, including meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Knesset.

Her story is one of several coming to the UK this week as part of a delegation of relatives of hostages being brought over by the Israeli Embassy for Shabbat for Israel this weekend.

Orit and 14 other relatives of hostages will be sharing their stories at synagogues across London over Shabbat.

“I can’t see our country being built up again if the hostages are not coming home. We can’t say we have won if the hostages don’t return to us,” she said.

“I am waiting every day for my son. We love him, and we miss him,” Orit said. “Almog has dreams. He wants to travel, wants to study, wants to do lots of things. I believe all his dreams will come true, but first we need him back.”

Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis told the JC: “Shabbat for Israel will provide a timely opportunity for our community to express its solidarity with the people of Israel, but it will also offer the chance for us to let the families of those still being held captive know, that their loved ones remain foremost in our thoughts. As our communities host these family members this shabbat, our message is clear: we will continue to hold them in our hearts until every one of them is safely returned home.”

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