United in our hope to bring home the hostages now

The rescue of four hostages has brought joy, but also a reminder of the immense human cost of being held captive


Nivi has been helping to organise weekly vigils in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, calling for the return of the hostages (Photo: Hostages and Missing Families Forum UK)

October 7 has always been special to me. For 13 years, it marked the day I married the love of my life. But last year, this day took on a grim new significance. It was the start of a war – one that none of us wanted, and one that Israelis, Jews and Palestinians alike are losing.

One of the scariest things I had to do after 7/10 was to take my kids to their Jewish primary school. I’m sure, like many of you, being openly Jewish seemed maybe unwise. Are we in danger here, right now? Have we just gone eight decades back in time? Reflecting on the past eight months, being openly Israeli and Jewish has been the most important thing I’ve done – my part in helping my people.

On October 7, as an Israeli-British living in the UK, I felt utterly helpless as news of the horrors unfolded. The very existence of Israel seemed at stake. Securing checkpoints and borders was the first priority, but the news of hundreds of hostages shattered me.

Among them was Ohad Munder-Zichri, an eight-year-old boy who found himself in Gaza simply for being in the wrong place (Kibbutz Nir Oz) at the wrong time (visiting his grandparents for Simchat Torah). He was kidnapped, along with his mother, Keren, and grandmother, Rutti, after his grandfather, Avraham, tried, but was unable, to keep the door closed on the terrorists. The image of a young boy torn from his family home, from a place of safety, struck a chord deep within me.

Only six weeks earlier, Ohad and my two sons were at a multi-sports summer camp together in Kfar Saba. They played and laughed, blissfully unaware of the looming darkness.

The night my son pointed out Ohad on the TV was the night I knew I had to act. This could have been any of our children, and the randomness of fate felt unbearably cruel.

The terrorist organisation Hamas targeted all of Israel that day. The aim was to murder, destroy and eliminate, without regard to age, gender or religion.

Since then, I’ve poured my heart into helping in whatever way I can. I have organised one march, 33 vigils, two rallies, a challah bake, photoshoots and many other events.

I co-lead the Hostages and Missing Families Forum UK, coordinating hostage families’ visits, interviews, events and panels to amplify the hostages’ stories and the fight for their release.

Our weekly vigils in Borehamwood have grown from small gatherings into powerful demonstrations of hope and resilience.

The return of Noa, Andrey, Shlomi and Almog has brought joy, but also stark reminders of the immense human cost. Noa Argamani missed eight precious months with her terminally ill mother, who is now so ill she is unable to communicate. Almog’s father died from a broken heart just hours before his son’s release.

Arnon Zmora, who died in the rescue mission, leaves behind a grieving wife and two children. The heroism of his sacrifice is etched in our hearts, but so is the pain of his loss.

These hostages have been in captivity for over 250 days. They need our help to get out of there today, with a deal. We can’t wait any longer. 120 lives are hanging in the balance, and their families suffer every day they remain captive.

The urgency is palpable, and the call for action is clear. I know you care, at least 40,000 of you who walked with us on the United We Bring Them Home march.

I would love to hear from you. How do we get more of the non-Jewish community to open up and hear the stories of the hostages’ suffering so that more decision-makers will have the heart to help them get back to their families? How can it be that so many people don’t realise there are hostages who are longing for their freedom? Let’s bring them home now. Bring Them Home!

Nivi Feldman co-leads the Hostages and Missing Families Forum UK alongside Nir Duek

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