Female hostage dragged through Gaza is peace activist dedicated to Israeli-Palestinian dialogue

In a viral video, Naama Levy was dragged from the boot of a car while others looked on and celebrated


It is hard to forget the footage of 19-year-old Naama Levy being manhandled into a jeep in Gaza, her hands tied behind her back and her grey tracksuit covered in blood on the bottom.

The footage showed men with guns and Naama being dragged from the boot of the car to the passenger seat while others looked on and celebrated. 

The teenager is just one of the many hostages who were ripped from their homes on October 7.

In a bitter twist, it has been revealed Naama was a peace activist dedicated to promoting values of mutual understanding between Israelis, and Palestinians. 

She was a participant in the "Hands of Peace" project in the USA, where young Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians meet in the pursuit of peace as "a lever for global social change."

John Lyndon, who is the executive director for The Alliance for Middle East Peace, of which Hands of Peace is a member, said Naama is “a bright and bubbly young lady” and her family just wants her home.

Lyndon said he was shocked to discover the kidnapped teenager was a participant in the program and has since been working with her family to raise awareness about her plight.  

“I saw the video like everyone else after October 7 and I was shocked. It was awful.” 

Naama’s peers on the project have been “traumatized by what they are seeing and are worried about their friend,” he said. 

Naama is also the great-granddaughter of Holocaust survivors from Poland and a triathlete, who also spent her time volunteering for underprivileged kids.  

Lyndon said young people engaged in the project were finding it “really difficult” to process the different sides of the war. 

“Depending on what side they come from they are each being traumatized by different media points. The news and social media for them is nonstop trauma but they are still committed to peace with each other.  

“They don’t have to agree but they can acknowledge each other and they still do.” 

He said it was a "horrible irony" that many of those kidnapped by Hamas were engaged in peace activities between Israelis and Palestinians.  

“They are people who walk the walk and know that the only way to peace is together. Hamas didn’t care who they were killing or taking on October 7."

Speaking to Reuters about her daughter, Naama’s mother Ayelet Levy Shachar fought back tears as she described her.  

She said: "You can't go around not seeing that footage somewhere because they kept showing it in a loop.” 

Her daughter had just begun her military service, when she was taken on October 7 and depsite no news about her coming from Gaza, her mum says: "I try to keep my thoughts on her coming back and how she comes back to me.”  

She added that she hasn't stopped thinking about Naama's basic needs. "Where does she lie down? Where does she put her head? What is she eating? Is she sleeping? Does she have water? Does she have fresh air? Does she have air at all?"  

She said: "Look at the films that are out there. They came in and this is what they wanted to do, they came in to do evil. And this can happen anywhere, it could be anyone's daughter."  

Like many relatives, Levy Shachar has attended rallies to call for the hostages to be released.  

She said: "I just want this all to be over. I don't want to speak to cameras anymore, I don't want to be in crowds. I just want to be back home and have Naama back home. That's it." 

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