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Every week on, hope wears skinny for households of these taken hostage by Hamas


TEL AVIV — A Bar Mitzvah is supposed to be a time of ceremony and celebration marking a baby’s coming of age, however for one household on Saturday, the younger man on the heart of the ritual could have already been compelled to develop up far too quick after his older brother was one in every of dozens of individuals taken hostage by Hamas one week in the past.

“Itay was very missed,” Orly Chen, the aunt of Itay Chen, a 19-year-old U.S.-Israeli twin citizen who was working for the Israeli army when he was believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas throughout its lethal ambush on Oct. 7.

Itay Chen had been trying ahead his little brother’s Bar Mitzvah and had labored to organize for it “for therefore lengthy,” his aunt mentioned. “You realize, I used to be trying on the door saying perhaps he will probably be strolling in each second and saying ‘right here I’m’.”

‘It is already per week … the place is he?’

The Bar Mitzvah got here as Israel marked one week since Hamas militants swept via the nation’s south, killing tons of of individuals and taking dozens extra hostage in an assault that shook the nation and shocked the world, with households like Orly Chen’s nonetheless determined for solutions.

“The times are going by and , it’s already per week. The query is once more, the place is he?” Orly Chen, 56, mentioned.

Ruby Chen, Itay Chen’s father, together with his eldest and youngest sons. Itay, the center son, was lacking at his youthful brother’s Bar Mitzvah on Saturday.Courtesy Orly Chen

Itay Chen is one in every of greater than 100 individuals who had been taken hostage by Hamas in final Saturday’s assault, with some households receiving the unimaginable information since then that their family members have died, with not less than 1,300 folks in Israel killed within the present battle, whereas greater than 1,900 folks have been killed in Gaza.

The army arm of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, mentioned some hostages had died on account of Israeli airstrikes on locations the place they had been being held. It additional mentioned in a publish on Telegram that it had killed 9 hostages, together with 4 foreigners, in retaliation for the continued bombing of Gaza. NBC Information was not instantly capable of independently confirm both declare.

‘We’re nonetheless ready for a solution’

Orly Chen’s household was one of many U.S.-Israeli households whom President Joe Biden met with for greater than an hour in a Zoom name on Friday.

Orly Chen mentioned the decision introduced her and her family members some aid, saying the president “gave hope.”

“He was very supportive,” she mentioned, including that Biden appeared to wish to “hear what is going on on with the households,” with the decision stretching longer than she had initially anticipated.

Orly Chen, 56, stands in a stairwell, taking shelter as sirens warning of a possible air attack sound in Tel Aviv on Tuesday following a news conference her family gave about her nephew, Itay Chen.
Orly Chen, 56, stands in a stairwell, taking shelter as sirens warning of a doable air assault sound in Tel Aviv on Tuesday following a information convention her household gave about her nephew, Itay Chen.Chantal Da Silva

Orly Chen mentioned her household nonetheless has but to listen to from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nevertheless.

She mentioned she was disillusioned by the shortage of communication, saying: “President Biden has just a few different issues to care for, however he had the time to take a seat for an hour and a half with the households … The president of Israel does not even have 5 minutes.”

“We’re nonetheless ready for Itay to come back residence,” she mentioned. “We’re nonetheless ready for a solution. The place is he?”

‘I attempt to keep optimistic’

Dozens of households are equally ready to be taught whether or not they may ever be reunited with their lacking family members once more.

“Nonetheless no information from Celine,” mentioned Ido Nagar, 33, whose spouse, Celine Ben David Nagar, 32, was taken hostage final Saturday morning as she drove into southern Israel towards the pageant the place dozens of revelers had been killed.

Ben David Nagar was touring in a automotive with two mates when she advised her husband that she was turning again after listening to sirens. The very last thing he heard from her was that she was afraid turning again had been a “mistake” and that armed males had been on the street.

Celine Ben David Nagar, 32, is still missing.
Celine Ben David Nagar, 32, continues to be lacking. Courtesy Ido Nagar

Nagar was the one to search out his spouse’s automotive with bullet holes seen on the motive force’s facet of the automobile, its home windows smashed and blood exterior the automotive.

Simply on Friday, Nagar mentioned he was at a funeral to bury one of many two mates she had been touring with after they had been discovered useless. “The opposite buddy continues to be lacking,” he mentioned. “I attempt to keep optimistic … that perhaps she’s alive,” Nagar mentioned of his spouse, with whom he just lately welcomed a child, Ellie.

“If I begin fascinated by all of it, what can occur to her there, the adverse that may occur, it is tearing me aside,” he mentioned. “I don’t know what to let you know. I simply hope that she comes again.”

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